INFECTED

I’ve been dealing with a gum infection for almost a week now. At first, I didn’t even realize my gums were infected. I woke up one morning and I noticed a pain in the lower left and back region of my mouth. It hurt when any piece of food would slide past that area. I looked in my mouth and an area of my inner jaw had a white spot (not the delicious restaurant kind) on it. In my experience, white, painful spots in my mouth are canker sores. I used to frequently get canker sores in my mouth when I was younger. I asked both my dentist and my doctor why I was getting them and how I could prevent them. They had no clear answers for me, sometimes they just spontaneously appear. So, I thought this was a rare canker sore.

There’s really nothing you can do with a canker sore, you just have to let it heal on its own. So I just left it for a few days, trying to avoid touching it. I noticed on the second day, however, this supposed canker sore looked a bit odd to me. First, it seemed like it would change shape if I ran a cotton tip along it. Was this oozing something? Canker sores don’t really ooze. This began to worry me.

Another day passed and I again pushed against the problem area. This time, a sizable amount of yellowish pus appeared, followed by some bright red blood. I instantly knew this wasn’t a canker sore since those don’t have pus and blood like that. I had an infection, which is more serious than a regular canker sore. I also noticed the gum area surrounding my last lower tooth in the back was now red and with spots of yellowy pus on it. Gross. The infection seemed to have spread.

Infections in the mouth, especially near teeth are things you should take very seriously. Left alone, you could easily loose a tooth. Also infections that occur in the head area just make me really nervous since your brain is so close by. So, at my first opportunity, I went downstairs to the dental office to schedule an appointment. Luckily, they were able to see me on the same day, just two hours later.

The dentist looked at the infected area and he really worked it. After the initial visual inspection, he took a gloved finger and pushed at the place where all that pus had initially come out. It hurt like a sonuvabitch and he must have hit gold because he immediately asked the hygienist for suction. He then placed the suction tip right where the pus was coming out and left it there for a good ten seconds, like he was trying to vacuum out all the nasty stuff. He also then took an ultrasonic cleaner and did some dental scaling for the tooth that was surrounded by the infected gums. He also took an x-ray of the tooth. He told me he just wanted to make sure that tooth was ok, since an infection of the gum might have led to some problems in the tooth as well. Based on the x-ray and the visual inspection, the tooth seemed ok but he wasn’t sure if it would stay that way. I was really concerned at this point since I didn’t want to loose the tooth to some stupid gum infection.

The care plan the dentist gave me consisted of me going on antibiotics immediately, Advil to reduce the swelling, plus some regular warm saline rinses, and a return visit in seven days time. I was cautioned that if things got worse, like an infection in another area, pain getting worse, or anything else that was out of the ordinary, I was to return immediately.

I have been on the antibiotics now for about 36 hours and there has been some improvement. The gum area around the tooth looks less red and less pus-filled but you can still tell it’s infected. There has been a decrease in the amount of pain in the area but without a doubt, the area is still tender. I’m on the antibiotics for a total of seven days, so I will continue to let it work its magic and hopefully things continue to improve.

I really hope nothing bad happens to my tooth back there.

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