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Azithromycin For Tooth Infection

azithromycin for tooth infection

Dental Infections in Emergency Medicine Medication

Dental pain is a common problem and can arise when the nerve within a tooth dies due to progressing decay or severe trauma. The tissue around the end of the root then becomes inflamed and this can lead to acute pain, which gets worse on biting. Without treatment, bacteria can infect the dead tooth and cause a dental abscess, which can lead to swelling and spreading infection that may be life threatening.

The recommended treatment of this form of toothache is the removal the dead nerve and associated bacteria. This is usually done by dental extraction or root canal treatment. Antibiotics should only be prescribed when there is severe infection that has spread from the tooth. However, some dentists still routinely prescribe oral antibiotics to people with acute dental conditions that have no signs of spreading infection.

Minimising inappropriate antibiotic prescribing is plays a key role in limiting the development of antibiotic‚Äźresistant bacteria. Since dentists prescribe approximately 8% to 10% of all primary care antibiotics in developed countries, dental prescribing may contribute to antibiotic resistance. Therefore, it is important that antibiotics should only be used when they are clinically beneficial for the person.

Which Antibiotics Treat Tooth Infections?

A tooth infection, sometimes called an abscessed tooth, causes a pocket of pus to form in your mouth due to a bacterial infection. It’s usually caused by:

  • tooth decay
  • injuries
  • previous dental work
  • Tooth infections can cause:
  • pain
  • sensitivity
  • swelling

Left untreated, they can also spread to nearby areas, including your brain.

If you have a tooth infection, see a dentist as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading. You’ll want to be careful with any infection in your head, especially in your mouth since it’s close to your brain. Your dentist will likely prescribe an antibiotic to help kill the bacteria causing your tooth infection.

Which antibiotics work best for a tooth infection?

Not all tooth infections require antibiotics. In some cases, your dentist may be able to drain the abscess. Other cases might require a root canal or removal of the infected tooth.

Antibiotics are generally used when:

  • your infection is severe
  • your infection has spread
  • you have a weakened immune system

The type of antibiotic you’ll need depends on the type of bacteria causing the infection. Different classes of antibiotics have different ways of attacking bacteria. Your dentist will want to choose an antibiotic that can effectively eliminate your infection.

Antibiotics of the penicillin class, such as penicillin and amoxicillin, are most commonly used to help treat tooth infections.

An antibiotic called metronidazole may be given for some types of bacterial infections. It’s sometimes prescribed with penicillin in order to cover a larger variety of bacterial species.

How much should I take and for how long?

If you have a tooth infection that requires antibiotics, you’ll need to take them for about one week. Depending on the type of antibiotic, you’ll need to take a dose two to four times a day.

You should receive instructions from your pharmacy detailing exactly how to take the antibiotic. You can ask the pharmacist if you’re not sure about how to take a medication.

Keep in mind that you might have to take a few courses of antibiotics before they get into your system and begin acting on the infection.

Are there any over-the-counter remedies?

You should always see your dentist if you have a tooth infection. Your teeth are very close to your brain and a tooth infection can quickly spread to nearby areas and organs.

Antibiotics aren’t available without a prescription, but there are a few things you can do at home for relief before your appointment, such as:

  • taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water
  • avoiding hot or cold foods whenever possible
  • trying to chew with the opposite side of your mouth
  • brushing with a soft toothbrush around the affected tooth

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