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Do Antibiotics Heal Teeth?


Antibiotics are an excellent weapon for treating bacterial infections. But do antibiotics heal teeth? In this article, we will explore the role of antibiotics in dental treatment and the potential effects of unnecessary use.

The Effect of Antibiotics on Dental Infections and Pain

The question of whether antibiotics can heal teeth is a concern for those experiencing dental pain or inflammation. Understanding what antibiotics are and why they are used can help make the answer more comprehensible.

Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. They do not relieve pain or remove the source of dental infection. They do reduce and limit the risk of dental infections. In dentistry, antibiotics like penicillin, clindamycin, or metronidazole are often preferred. The recommended dosage is typically twice a day for 5-7 days.

Antibiotic Use for Oral and Dental Health

Conditions warranting antibiotic prescriptions in oral and dental health are as follows:

Dental Abscess:

An abscess in the gums or within the tooth can develop as a result of bacterial infection. Antibiotics can be used to prevent the spread of infection and reduce inflammation in the treatment of a dental abscess.

Post-Extraction Infection Risk:

In some cases, the risk of infection may be high after tooth extraction. The dentist may prescribe antibiotics after the surgical procedure to reduce this risk.

Periodontal Disease:

Severe gum diseases like periodontitis can lead to bacterial accumulation in gum pockets. Dentists may sometimes use antibiotics in conjunction with other treatments to manage and treat periodontal disease.

Dental Surgeries:

Some dental surgeries, particularly surgical procedures, can increase the risk of infection. In such cases, the dentist may prescribe antibiotics either before or after the surgical procedure.

Returning to the initial question, antibiotics do not heal teeth. It is the treatments administered by dentists that heal. The scope of antibiotic use in dentistry is quite limited. Most of the time, there is no need to prescribe antibiotics; unfortunately, there is a tendency to do the opposite in our country. Both physicians and the general public are fond of antibiotics. However, recent awareness-raising efforts regarding antibiotic use show positive developments in this area.

Why Do Our Teeth Hurt? Do Antibiotics Heal Teeth?

Simply put, what causes the pain and swelling in the concerned tooth is the presence of infection there. Providing antibiotics without addressing the root cause may temporarily relieve the patient, but the complaints will never go away unless the source of infection is eliminated.

As we initially stated, antibiotic use is rarely necessary. However, the affected tooth should first be “cleaned” and then antibiotics can be administered. Contrary to common practice, many root canal treatments do not require any antibiotics at all. Even the most problematic, and often abscessed, teeth can quickly heal with good “cleaning”.

It must be remembered that antibiotics are not harmless. Excessive and unnecessary antibiotic use can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, reducing the efficacy of future antibiotic treatments. They also have side effects like liver and kidney damage, allergic reactions, and digestive problems.

If you think there is an issue with your teeth or if you’re planning any dental treatment, refrain from using antibiotics without a proper examination. Consulting a dental expert or a specialist in root canal treatments is the best course of action.

Actively participating in courses and conferences both within the country and abroad, Specialist Dentist Esra Uluköylü writes about questions concerning dental and oral health. Uluköylü, who is a root canal and endodontics specialist, is a member of the Turkish Endodontics Association.

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