A dentist normally prescribes antibiotics to their patients for two reasons: in cases where therapeutic treatment is needed and in situations that demand prophylactic prevention. Therapeutic antibiotics are used to treat diseases in the oral cavity that most of the time is a result of a failed local debridement procedure. The use of antibiotics in dentisty, in most cases however, is done to prevent endocarditis. For this reason, the Clifton endodontics specialists are giving prophylactic antibiotics to prevent diseases from developing in the oral cavity, which could further lead to other major complications in the body.
The use of such antibiotics, whether as prophylactic prevention or disease treatment, is within the scope of endodontic responsibility. It means that dentists have a crucial role of knowing which antibiotic should be used in each case to avoid abuse or misuse of these drugs. Dental practitioners are well-trained in their field and are expected to make every prescription appropriately with the type of antibiotic and dosage specified.
In what specific instances are antibiotics prescribed by Dentists?
There only a few specific reasons why antibiotics are prescribed on dental patients. For example, oral infection with high fever, severe infection, and facial cellulitis are the main situations when dentists have to prescribe antibiotics. Facial cellulitis, on the other hand, is a severe condition or infection that can further develop into septicemia.
In a study conducted by Dr. Kathryn Burnett and associates from Ulster University, it has been discovered that in an area being serviced by 1000 practitioners, antibiotic prescriptions reached as much as 2000 within a month. Almost 17% of these prescriptions are mostly for amoxicillin and metronidazole, which were given during regular appointments. Generally, this practice is considered inappropriate.
The results of the study also showed the correlation between the length of practice of the dentist and the availability of the given antibiotic prescriptions. The longer is the dentist’s practice in the field, the more likely he is to prescribe antibiotics to patients. Results of the study is quite alarming although not an extremely urgent matter.
More recently, a 2010 study found out that there is overprescription of antibiotics in the dental practice. Prescriptions were given in cases which called for better treatment options like surgery. Non-indicated conditions like inflammation and that of localized infections were the top reasons found to have been prescribed with antibiotics.
What factors have to be considered before starting antibiotic treatment?
Both endodontists and dentists should be certain at all times with the patient’s case before prescribing antibiotics. Some of the factors to examine are:
- Is the patient’s health compromised by the infection?
- How severe is the infection seen during the visit?
- Does the patient show stable immune defense status?
- Has the infection affected the oral facial spaces?
The list is only a simplified clifton endodontics professionals’ checklist. As a dentist, you can add other factors which you think is necessary. It is also important to stay updated with dental pharmacology and religiously evaluate both new and old methods used in the dental practices. Patients should only be provided with the safest treatment according to their needs with proper antibiotics prescription to eliminate the possibilities of patient risks.