Antibiotics are a hot topic in the world right now. Patients with cavities and similar issues often ask us at Designer Smiles FL in Coral Springs, FL, if they should receive antibiotics. Antibiotics are fantastic and have plenty of benefits, but only when indicated.
One of our priorities at Designer Smiles FL is to have patients actively participate in their treatments. That’s why we believe it’s important for people to know more about antibiotics, when they’re used, and their potential side effects. Even relatively weak antibiotics can have unwanted effects on the body.
Antibiotics are drugs used to clear bacterial infections. There are dozens of types of antibiotics, and they’re classified based on their mechanisms of action. Penicillin, for example, works by attacking the cell wall of bacteria. This makes it very effective for those with a cell wall but ineffective for those without it.
In dentistry, we use antibiotics when a person has a dental infection that can’t be cleared any other way. Due to the potential side effects, we never rush to prescribing antibiotics. People with cavities don’t need antibiotics because simply cleaning the cavity and applying a filling is enough. Patients with root canal problems can just get root canal treatment, and the pain will go away.
Severe infections require the usage of antibiotics. They’re also recommended for some people with heart disease before a dental procedure. Mild periodontitis can be dealt with using topical antibiotics that aren’t systemically absorbed.
There are many reasons we don’t freely use antibiotics. The first is that they’re not good for patients. Antibiotics, if not indicated, can affect your normal flora and microbiome. They can also have side effects like allergic reactions, nausea, abdominal pain, and others.
Antibiotic resistance is another issue all healthcare providers have to keep in mind. With enough exposure, some bacteria start to develop resistance to the antibiotics available to us right now. The more we use antibiotics unnecessarily, the faster they develop resistance until we don’t have any effective antibiotics.
If a patient requires antibiotic treatment, we won’t hesitate to give it in the right dose and type. We’ll also discuss the benefits and risks with you while doing so.