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Dental antibiotics for infection

dental antibiotics
Did you know that our mouth is the dirtiest part of our body with more than 500 different genera and species of bacteria, more than 100 bacteria per cell, 1 million bacteria per 1 ml of saliva and 100 million bacteria per 1 mg of dental plaque.

Normally, these bacteria are there to serve us: They help us in digestion, provide us with essential nutrients like vitamins, maintain our immune system and protect us from other pathogenic bacteria. But, in some situations, the balance will be upset in favor of pathogenic bacteria, these will proliferate and dominate by killing our allied bacteria, causing the appearance of infection.
Different means exist to restore this balance, antibiotics are the best known.

Dental infection: a serious tooth health problem?

Once the balance is broken between the bacteria, the infection is installed. This will cause a pocket of pus which will increase over time. Note that these infections don’t go away on their own, so it’s important to see your dentist if you think you have one. Untreated, complications can be extremely serious, as it can spread to adjacent organs and can spread throughout the body by reaching the bloodstream. The signs that should alarm you are swelling, stabbing pains that become unbearable., Fever and lymphadenopathy.

When to take antibiotics for dental infection

The antibiotic is prescribed only in case of infection. But, not all infections require antibiotics. Besides, if an antibiotic is necessary, it is always accompanied by an act that aims to reduce the infection and it can be either drainage of the abscess, a canal treatment or an extraction. Indeed, these surgical acts aim to reduce the bacterial load and thus their resistance to antibiotics.
Initially, due to the links that virulent bacteria responsible for the infection establish they can survive even in the most delicate conditions, prescribing antibiotics alone will have no effect on them because of their very high resistance.

Different antibiotics can be prescribed in case of tooth abscess (amoxicillin, azithromycin, metronidazole, clarithromycin or even roxithromycin and clindamycin).

Far from being an absolute necessity, the prescription of antibiotics is only necessary in certain very specific cases, namely:
  • if the dental abscess is purulent,
  • if there is a real risk of infection of the gums or jaw,
  • if pus escapes from the oral cavity,
  • If your immune system is weakened.


Sometimes, two antibiotics can be combined including amoxicillin and metronidazole to multiply the desired effect. Indeed, this association will broaden the spectrum of activity of the antibiotic, leading to the elimination of a greater number of pathogenic bacteria.

How Antibiotics Can Help Us

Antibiotics have a specific action on bacteria. Some target their membranes, others target their genomes, and others target their metabolism. Ultimately, these antibiotics will either kill the bacteria or eliminate its virulence factor by making it harmless.

Once the antibiotic has been administered, it will reach the general circulation and will act on persistent bacteria after surgical debridement (extraction or drainage). Indeed, these bacteria have a big invasive power which allows them to penetrate and survive inside the tissues to be safe from all mechanical actions including brushing and surgical curettage, hence the importance of the antibiotic that will reach these sites and kill these bacteria.

The antibiotic is, therefore, an essential element that will stop the spread of the infection, restore the balance of the oral flora and promote healing.

Side effect and limits of antibiotics

effect of inappropriate use of antibiotics
The most common side effects of dental antibiotics are allergic reactions and digestive upset. allergic manifestations can be cutaneous (rashes, hives, redness, itching, edema), respiratory (respiratory discomfort), more rarely it can be more serious reactions (angioedema, anaphylactic shock ...), while digestive disorders are manifested by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Your doctor will make sure that you are not allergic to penicillins, if this is the case, your dentist might a different antibiotic, such as clindamycin or erythromycin. Antibiotics can also disrupt the normal functioning of the organism and destroy the allied bacterial flora if they are misused: treatment interrupted, badly followed or interrupted early.

Taking antibiotics can also lead to the selection of resistant bacteria which will make the treatment of subsequent infections more difficult: The antibiotic will target the allied bacteria and leave the resistant bacteria, these will proliferate and colonize the body of the patient.

Antibiotics can be a great weapon against harmful bacteria, but if used improperly, they can be our worst enemy. So what are the precautions to take ...?

Side effect and limits of antibiotics

how to avoid bacteria resistance
Antibiotics are never taken alone, it is only after curettage or drainage of the dental abscess that treatment with antibiotics is eventually prescribed to the patient. Removing pus by curettage is the most effective treatment and it significantly decreases the pain due to abscessed teeth.

It is not recommended to take antibiotics for self-medication as this can be dangerous. An antibiotic must be perfectly adapted to the patient, depending on his health, the disease and the bacteria involved.
It is, therefore, the healthcare professional who decides whether or not the situation requires a prescription for antibiotics, whether his patient suffers from a periodontal dental abscess or an apical abscess.

Finally, never reuse an antibiotic for any other health problem than the one for which it was prescribed, and do not give your remaining antibiotic treatment to another person.