A dentist prescribes antibiotics for a number of reasons:
- Obvious localised infection (swelling, pain, radiographic signs of infection). Antibiotics can help to relive an infection before dental work which can sometimes temporarily relieve pain and can help increase the effectiveness of local anaesthetics. Stand-alone, they are not sufficient to stop infection completely.
- Systemic signs of infection (raised temperature, general infection symptoms caused by a bacteria).
- As antibiotic cover before a procedure: For people who are immune-compromised or have certain medical conditions (heart valve problems for example).
- Following certain procedures: For people who are immune-compromised who have had significantly invasive procedures such as surgeries.
Sadly, all-too-often antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately and this has led to the rise of nasty superbugs, which you may have heard about. Whilst more commonly linked to general medical prescribing, inappropriate dental prescribing is estimated to contribute by up to 15% to certain superbugs out there. Dry sockets, sensitive teeth and gum inflammations are generally not reasons to prescribe antibiotics, so it's best to trust your dentist to assess you and take their advice. Our friendly Northbridge Dentists team are happy to assess you should you have any questions.