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Antibiotics - how long to take effect? Swollen face

(47 Posts)
SealSong Sat 13-Feb-21 17:50:48

I went to the dentist yesterday after a few days of tooth pain and slightly swollen cheek, I've got a gum infection and was prescribed metronizadole and amoxicillin, started yesterday lunch time and had 2x doses yesterday and so far 2x doses today with a further dose to have shortly.
My cheek has swollen up loads today though, and feels warm, and I don't feel great although that could be due to the antibiotics. I don't think I have a temperature. How long for antibiotics to take effect before I need to be worried and ring 111 or something?
I don't want to ring 111 unless absolutely necessary as I think their default position would probably advise to go to A&E. I'd go to A&E if its really needed but really don't want to unless I have to. I have a fear of catching covid in hospital.

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SealSong Sat 13-Feb-21 17:51:53

So how long realistically for the antibiotics to take effect?

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Heatherjayne1972 Sat 13-Feb-21 17:54:26

They should start to work 24 hours after you start them

Complete the whole course tho as prescribed
But do talk to 111 or call your dentist for advice if you need to

shazkevincarrotlover Sat 13-Feb-21 17:54:26

It's usually 24/48 hours, everyone's metabolism is different.
Have you eaten food when you've taken the metro? It can make you feel worse until it gets into your system.

SealSong Sat 13-Feb-21 17:56:46

Shazkevincarrotlover, yes am trying to eat although it's difficult at the moment. Am taking it with a bit of food

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danni0509 Sat 13-Feb-21 18:03:14

I’d give it until this time tomorrow to see them taking affect.

Can you get a cold compress on your face, are you taking paracetamol / ibuprofen?

Rinsing with warm salt water?

Whywonttheyletmeusemyusername Sat 13-Feb-21 18:04:53

I'm currently going thru exactly the same thing OP, except I was given erythromycin as allergic to amoxicillin. Except I don't feel they're working at all this time - I've nearly finished the course, yet I'm still swollen, and in pain. I always want them to start kicking in straight away, and rarely finish a course because I always feel better halfway thru. This time I've stuck rigidly to them, and the painkillers and don't feel it's working at all. I sympathise so much....mouth pain is worse than labour

danni0509 Sat 13-Feb-21 18:06:43

Obviously if your breathing is restricted in any way from the swelling then seek urgent help,

Or if the swelling is spreading up to your eye etc.

But for me it’s usually 48-72 hours for antibiotics to kick in.

Hope you’re feeling ok x

danni0509 Sat 13-Feb-21 18:08:26

@Whywonttheyletmeusemyusername can you phone the dentist back to let them know? They may prescribe metronidazole. In April I had amoxicillin which didn’t work so I had to get some metro (did have to have the tooth out eventually) but bought me some time until my appointment.

PoptartPoptart Sat 13-Feb-21 18:15:26

I always thought antibiotics took about 3 days to work

helpfulperson Sat 13-Feb-21 18:16:39

Metronidazole is powerful and can make you feel rubbish. I presume you were warned how seriously you need to take the no alcohol thing.

Are you sure your face has swollen up more, do you have someone to give a second opinion. Last time I had similar i thought it had got worse and as soon as the dentist saw it he said ' good that's going down nicely ' it was in Germany so different in that he landed it and saw me three days in a row.

Having said that if you are at all unsure go back to the professionals.

helpfulperson Sat 13-Feb-21 18:17:20


shazkevincarrotlover Sat 13-Feb-21 18:18:33

You can take paracetamol and ibuprofen as well just stagger the doses ie take paracetamol then 2 hours later take ibuprofen and repeat the cycle to keep yourself dosed up just dont take more than the recommended limits in 24 hrs.
I appreciate that it is a lot of pills to be popping but it does work.
And obvs go back to your dentist ASAP to get the problem sorted, don't wait for it to kick off again before you gave it fixed.

SealSong Sat 13-Feb-21 18:24:20

Thanks all. In answer to a couple of questions on here, yes my face has swollen loads today, on the side where the infection is. Like a hamster on that side. The actual tooth pain seems a bit reduced though.
Yes to avoiding alcohol, I don't drink anyway but thanks for the reminder.
Am using paracetamol, unfortunatly am allergic to ibuprofen.

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SealSong Sat 13-Feb-21 18:25:13

And I have two follow up appointments booked with the dentist, to deal with the tooth issue

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Evidencebased Sat 13-Feb-21 18:44:51

Don't assume that 111 will necessarily send you to A&E : when I had somewhat similar dental infection worsening at the weekend, 111 gave me a different number, out of hours dental triage or something.
Hope things improve soon.

NotYourHolidayDick Sat 13-Feb-21 18:49:47

God i could have written this.
I've got pericoronitis and the pain is absolutely fucking horrific, I've sobbed like a baby all night and most of the day. Managed to get Metro today and have taken the first dose, I'm expecting them to start working by Monday. If it takes any longer I'll be banging on the doors of A&E and demanding gas and air. I'd rather give birth than have this mouth pain.

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Sat 13-Feb-21 18:54:08

Rule of thumb is 24 hours. In your case not only is it not getting better, it’s getting worse, so in your shoes I would ring 111.

SealSong Sat 13-Feb-21 19:44:16

Thanks everyone. I feel a bit reassured by this, also I think my face has stopped swelling now, still look like a lopsided hamster but it's no worse than earlier.
Sorry for anyone else going through this also.

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Whywonttheyletmeusemyusername Sat 13-Feb-21 20:07:33

@danni0509 My partner wondered why they hadn't prescribed that. Tooth is coming out Wednesday, but if this infection hasn't gone down by Monday, I'll phone and ask for them. Are they stronger than Erythromycin?

@NotYourHolidayDick What is pericoronitus? I really really feel for you and @sealsong.....I've suffered my whole life with teeth problems. I now have a plate in the upper jaw, it was that bad

PlugUgly1980 Sat 13-Feb-21 20:26:58

Keep an eye on it, even after 6 weeks of amoxicillin and metronidazole (and another I can't remember) I had no improvement. During that time I was seen by my dentist, GP and also in A&E twice where both times the on-call Max-fac drained the swelling and told me to keep taking the antibiotics and morphine for hideous pain that nothing else touched, whilst I waited for a referral to see the Max-fac consultant. As soon as he saw me, he admitted me for emergency surgery and apologised to me that his team hadn't done anything to resolve the problem soon. Essentially the only thing that sorted me out was surgery to cut open my gum and clean out all the infection. I have never experienced pain like it, I could literally press the outside of my swollen cheek and pus would ooze out of my gum on the inside yet I still had to fight to get it sorted out, because unless the swelling begins to affect your breathing it's not an emergency. My dentist said it was beyond her remit, my GP was reluctant to get involved but Max-fac said they were responsible for my 'pain control in the community' so thankfully my lovely GP helped there, A&E could see how much pain I was in both times I attended and I was taken through with little wait, but I had to fight and fight to actually get my referral to the Max-fac consultant brought forward. I cried when he said he was admitting me for surgery...tears of happiness and sheer relief that someone was actually taking control and helping sort me out, rather than passing the book to someone else. I sincerely hope you don't experience anything as severe but please do keep any eye on it and if things aren't getting better, don't be put off from going back.

SealSong Sat 13-Feb-21 20:59:13

Oh my goodness PlugUgly1980 that sounds utterly horrific!! Yes I will keep a close eye on it and thanks for sharing your experiences

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Hottielottie Sat 13-Feb-21 21:19:50

OP my experience wasn't quite the same but kind of similar I guess, I once had an awful ear infection so bad that the whole side of my face swelled up & my ear canal closed with the swelling ( from the infection ) The swollen side of my face was red & hot to touch. I was prescribed some mega strength antibiotics & it took a good 48 hours or so for the facial swelling to subside. Hoping you feel better soon.
Ugh ... I remember the pain thanks

Amanduh Sat 13-Feb-21 21:20:36

I had this. It was the worst thing I’d ever seen. I looked like i had six golfballs in my cheek. It took a good 3/4 days for the swelling to subside but the pain got better. Metronidazole makes you feel like absolute shit in my extensive experience!

QuothTheSlothNevermore Sat 13-Feb-21 23:34:40

It's not about whether they're stronger or weaker. Certain antibiotics work on certain groups of bacteria, and which bugs are causing the infection is largely an educated guess and so not always 100% right.

The two you've been given cover most bacteria (together) which cause dental infections, but if it's still getting worse you might be on the wrong ones, so I'd seek further advice.

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