Getting antibiotics called in by your dentist can help alleviate the pain and infection of some types of dental problems, but in many cases they simply cover up the cause of the problem. For example, severe forms of gum disease or dental abscesses may need to be treated with antibiotics prior to professional periodontal therapy being performed. This allows the inflammation and infectious bacterial levels to go down, so that treatment can be more effective.
Prescribing antibiotics too frequently can cause drug resistance to occur, making the medication ineffective in certain people or on particular types of bacteria. Drug resistance can also occur if you do not take your medication as prescribed. Simply taking the medicine until your symptoms go away and then not finishing up the entire course of the antibiotic will only cause the infection to get worse before it gets better. While you may no longer have symptoms, the bacteria are still alive and thriving in the area of infection, and the full course of antibiotics must be completed in order to heal the area as best as possible.
Typically antibiotic use is only reserved for the most advanced cases of dental infections. Don’t take it personally if you ask your dentist for a prescription antibiotic and they won’t give you one! Regardless of whether or not your dentist prescribes you medication, it’s very important to have your treatment completed in a timely manner so that bacteria cannot continue to seep into the infected nerve, tooth, or gum tissue can be removed or sealed out permanently. When used in conjunction with therapeutic treatments, antibiotics can be an effective part of managing severe dental conditions.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center
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