Which kind of doctor should I see for a possible mouth infection?
November 17, 2010 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Which doctor should I go to if I think I have an infection in my mouth: a dentist or a physician?

I think I might have an infected Stenson's Duct (warning: photos of mouth infections). I've got a red and white lump in about the right place on the interior of my cheek. Which doctor is more appropriate for dealing with this kind of infection: dentist or physician?
posted by ocherdraco to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
Either one would be able to help you out; I'd go ahead and see whichever doctor I was more comfortable with.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:25 AM on November 17, 2010

The answer for health related issues is almost always going to be: "Go see a doctor damn it." But clearly that can be expensive in many parts of the world.

If you've got a family doctor, give them a call. They can advise you better on that. They might even be able to advise over the phone if you can't make it in, but I'd expect them to be reluctant to do so.

Doctors definitely do deal with throat infections and such.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:26 AM on November 17, 2010

Given that my medical insurance is a hell of a lot better than my dental insurance - and my MD is easier to get in to see than my dentist - I'd be going to the MD.

If that's the case for you, I'd go the same route.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:29 AM on November 17, 2010

Depending on your insurance, you've probably got better coverage for a regular doctor visit than for a dentist visit.
posted by amyms at 9:29 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Add me to the chorus of "Whichever will be cheaper for you."
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:33 AM on November 17, 2010

My dentist handles my teeth and my MD handles everything behind and below the teeth. Their work overlaps in my gums and jaw, so I would say a physician.

or a which doctor!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:35 AM on November 17, 2010

Physician it is. Cheers!
posted by ocherdraco at 9:41 AM on November 17, 2010

See if you can find an Oral Pathologist.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:32 AM on November 17, 2010

It is unlikely that you have an infected Stenson's duct (because, it is a rare occurance...). It is more likely that you have an inflamed duct, or that you bit your cheek.
My prejudice (and it may be too late), is, of course, that you see a dentist. We look at cheeks all day every day, and in the off chance that you have something truly worrisome (and I hope that you do not), a dentist would be able to numb you and biopsy the area immediately, while a physician probably would not.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:39 PM on November 17, 2010

In case anyone is at the edge of their seats wondering, I do indeed have an infected Stenson's duct, and now have an antibiotic prescription as well. Hooray for medicine!
posted by ocherdraco at 1:11 PM on November 18, 2010

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