Have you ever suffered from a dental infection? Whether the answer is yes or no, here’s what you should know about dental infections and the use of antibiotics in treating them. Tooth or a dental infection is when the harmful bacteria travel through the tooth and gets into the root to develop a pus-filled abscess.

You should meet your dentist if you develop the following symptoms since dental infections don’t go away on their own.

Symptoms of dental infection

  • Sensitivity of the tooth to hot or cold or both for hot food and beverages.
  • Pain on biting on the affected tooth.
  • Night pain disturbs your sleep.
  • Developing swelling in relation to a tooth.

Antibiotics will heal you.

This is where antibiotics come into play in dentistry. Antibiotics will attack the harmful bacteria and prevent the development of infection following a dental procedure and avoid the ongoing infections from exaggerating and spreading.

However, we should not rely on antibiotics to resolve each dental problem. If you have a toothache, antibiotics are not going to be more than a band-aid.

It’s better to know about these antibiotics.

  1. Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is the drug of choice of most dentists to treat an infection. It’s an antibiotic in the penicillin class. 500mg of Amoxicillin three times per day is the recommended dosage. When Amoxicillin is combined with Clavulanic acid, which is then sold under the brand name Augmentin, tackles an even broader spectrum of bacteria.

Most dentists recommend taking 625mg of Augmentin three times per day as a treatment for dental infections.

  1. Clindamycin

Clindamycin is used

  • If you are allergic to penicillin or amoxicillin and
  • when the infection is resistant to penicillin class antibiotics.

The minimum effective dosage of Clindamycin is 300mg three times per day.

  1. Metronidazole

Metronidazole is neither the first line of antibiotic therapy nor prescribed alone often.  When the dentist wants to cover different kinds of bacteria at once, he or she will prescribe Metronidazole in combination with a penicillin class drug, most probably Amoxicillin. 500-750mg three times per day will provide sufficient action of Metronidazole.

  1. Erythromycin

It’s one of the most commonly used alternative antibiotics for patients with penicillin allergies. 300mg every three times per day or 500mg two times per day is the recommended dosage for erythromycin.

Antibiotics can’t take care of dental infections alone.

A healthy tooth has blood vessels and nerve tissue going from a blood vessel source and a nerve source into the tooth. When the tooth gets infected, bacteria enter the nerve, end up in the base of the root and develop a pus-filled swelling called an abscess.

  • If you have a tooth that wakes you up at night due to pain or if you can’t bite on a tooth due to pain, there’s a huge possibility that there might be an abscess at the base of the root. Antibiotics will get into your bloodstream and then the jawbone to take care of this ongoing infection. However, antibiotics can’t penetrate the tooth. That’s why you need to do something about the tooth as well to get rid of the infection completely.

Treatment options for a dental infection.

Depending on the severity of the infection, the recommended best treatment option may differ. After a good discussion with your dentist, you can decide on the best treatment option suitable for the moment.

  • Your dentist might recommend draining the abscess to remove the infective foci from the area.
  • Doing a root canal treatment to save the tooth.
  • Extraction: You need to keep in mind that it’s better if you can save your tooth without extracting it because once you lose your natural tooth, no artificial tooth will look or function the same. Yet, if the tooth is not salvageable with loss of bone support, you won’t be left with any option other than removing it.

The above treatments will often be coupled with a course of antibiotics following the procedure. We can’t use antibiotics as an indefinite crutch because, after some time antibiotics will not going to work and develop resistance in infection-causing bacteria.

Antibiotics can be troublesome too.

Antibiotics kill not only harmful bacteria but also some good bacteria in our body as well. Therefore, using antibiotics for a long time is not good for your body. They all have side effects. The digestive system is naturally filled with a lot of good bacteria. When antibiotics damage these good bacteria, the digestive tract will not function properly and cause nausea, and diarrhea.

Ultimately the source of the tooth infection needs to be addressed to heal you.

Best home remedies to make you comfortable until you meet your dentist.

  1. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
  2. You can apply clove oil to the affected area to reduce the pain.
  3. Take some over-the -counter pain killers like acetaminophen (paracetamol) or ibuprofen.
  4. Apply light cold pressure to reduce the swelling.
  5. Carefully brush around the affected tooth using a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  6. Avoid extremely hot or cold food which gives rise to tooth sensitivity.
  7. Chew from the other side of the mouth to avoid additional injuries to the affected tooth.
  8. Avoid taking hard food to reduce further mechanical damage to the tooth and the surrounding soft tissues.

Prevention is always better than cure

It’s no secret that good dental habits help keep your teeth and gums healthy. So, never skip your daily dental hygiene routines no matter what.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time.
  • Don’t rinse your mouth with mouthwash or water immediately after brushing — that can take the protective toothpaste off your teeth.
  • Floss at least once a day to clean between your teeth and under your gums.
  • Avoid sugary and starchy food, especially between meals and right before bed.
  • Change your toothbrush when the bristles on the one you’re using look frayed.
  • Use an antiseptic or fluoride mouth rinse to help prevent tooth decay.
  • Drink fluoridated water.

Make sure to meet your dentist for regular checkups.

DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.