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Dental and Oral Health (Seniors)

Infection or inflammation?



After a dental procedure, I experience continuing pain in the treated area of my mouth. It has not gone away after several weeks. The pain does not seem to be in the tooth itself, but rather in the bone above it. I`m not sure if I have an infection, or an inflammation, or something else. My dentist, whom I respect, is herself not totally certain of the reason for the pain, which is why I am writing. If it were an infection, I would probably take antibiotics. But I am not sure what to do about an inflammation, since I am not able to take aspirin or NSAIDs.

My questions are how can one tell the difference between an infection and an inflammation? And if it is an inflammation, what other treatments would be recommended, as alternatives to aspirin and NSAIDs? Thanks for your guidance.


You may get a second opinion about infection or inflammation. However, atypical odontolgia also known as atypical facial pain often occurs in a similar setting that you are experiencing. Once a persistent infection is ruled out, you may need to be seen by a Pain specialist.

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Response by:

Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University