When Your Dentist May or May Not Prescribe Antibiotics

Cautious Use of Antibiotics in Dentistry

When you are suffering from a toothache or tooth pain, you would probably go see your dentist and ask for an antibiotic prescription. Your dentist may or may not agree because it depends upon the cause, and avoided as much as possible unless absolutely necessary. Let’s understand antibiotics first to confidently communicate with your dentist.

First of all, your dentist would give you an oral examination and ask about your symptoms. For example, you complain that your tooth hurts when you take hot or cold foods, or sometimes it hurts for no apparent reason. The dentist may give you a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen; or the same after you’ve had a tooth extraction or two. You might have a localized infection, confined to the pulp of a tooth. Even this does not require antibiotics. However, if the infection has spread and manifests as fever, then antibiotics may be required.

What are the guidelines of the American Dental Association (ADA) on antibiotic prescription? Here is the 2019 Antibiotics for Dental Pain and Swelling Guideline: “The guideline recommends against using antibiotics for most pulpal and periapical conditions and instead recommends only the use of dental treatment and, if needed, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.”

“Instead of prescribing antibiotics, dentists should prioritize dental treatments such as pulpotomy, pulpectomy, nonsurgical root canal treatment, or incision and drainage for symptomatic irreversible pulpitis, symptomatic apical periodontitis, and localized acute apical abscess in adult patients who are not severely immunocompromised.”

“If a patient’s condition progresses to systemic involvement, showing signs of fever or malaise, then dentists should prescribe antibiotics.”

Antibiotics do not have the same effect for everyone. While they are meant to treat painful infections, they can produce unwanted side effects in others. Most of the time yeast infections, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are some side effects associated with antibiotics. Allergic reactions may also happen. Antibiotic overuse is harder to manage. It may lead to growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among individuals.


Looking After Antibiotic Safety in Bellevue

Our experienced and reliable staff at Overlake Dental is aware of the cautious use of antibiotics in dental practice. Rest assured we provide excellent oral care for a wide variety of issues that may or may not require antibiotics.