Antibiotics for an abscessed tooth

Antibiotics for an abscessed tooth

Incisive Bite

by Sharon Robinson

Sunday, May 24, 2020

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ANTIBIOTICS are just one of the many tools dentists have to treat dental infections, like an abscessed tooth.

Throughout the world, dentists commonly prescribe Amoxicillin for abscessed tooth infections that require antibiotic therapy.

Types of dental infections

You may have an abscessed tooth if you experience pain when chewing, an aching jaw, or swollen gums. There are several types of dental infections that could possibly require antibiotic therapy, such as:

• Periapical abscess

A periapical abscess is an infection around the tip of a tooth's root, originating from an infected nerve chamber in the tooth. This is the most common dental emergency, and typical symptoms may include visible swelling, sensitivity to hot and cold and a bad taste in the mouth.

• Periodontal abscess

A periodontal abscess is a bacterial infection in the gum tissue that can occur if a person is unable to properly clean the pockets in the collar of gum tissue surrounding their teeth. This condition is often associated with periodontal disease and loss of the bone that forms the sockets that support the teeth. Typical symptoms include swelling of the gum tissue and accumulation of pus.

• Combination abscess

This infection is essentially a hybrid of a tooth abscess and an infection in the gums. It usually occurs when a dental abscess remains untreated and the infection spreads into the gum and bone tissues surrounding the tooth.

Treatment of dental abscesses

Prior to the discovery of antibiotics and the development of endodontic therapy, the only way to treat abscessed teeth was to remove them. Luckily, that is no longer the case.

Treatment for a tooth abscess depends on the severity of the infection. Your dentist may recommend root canal treatment, which involves removing the infected nerves and sealing the root canal to prevent the spread of infection. Your dentist may also need to drain the abscess if pus has accumulated. If the tooth cannot be saved, the dentist may need to remove the tooth entirely.

Antibiotics for dental infections

There are many varieties of antibiotics but Amoxicillin is the most prescribed antibiotic in the world for dental infections. Sometimes Amoxicillin is also used in conjunction with other antibiotics, such as Metronidazole. Penicillin VK, which is in the same class of antibiotics, is the most common antibiotic prescribed in the US. For those who are allergic to penicillin and Amoxicillin, dentists will often prescribe Erythromycin or Clindamycin as an alternative.

Dentists may prescribe an antibiotic such as Amoxicillin for abscessed tooth treatment to keep the infection from spreading to nearby teeth, your jaw or other facial structures. They may also recommend an antibiotic for abscessed teeth if you have a weakened immune system. If the infection is contained and limited to one area, you may not need antibiotics as part of your treatment.

Note that the use of antibiotics is not without potential consequences. Potential side effects of antibiotics may include gastrointestinal disturbances, allergic reactions (including fatal anaphylactic shock), and the development of antimicrobial resistance. Therefore, it's extremely important to see your dentist at the first sign of any dental infection symptoms. Although antibiotics can be effective, the best scenario is when your dentist identifies and treats a problem early on — before you even need them.

Dr Sharon Robinson, DDS has offices at Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa.

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