Dental diseases are infectious in nature, even, though it may not apparently appear that way. ‘Rotting teeth’ or ‘loose teeth’ or even bad breath are a few of the symptoms that can trace their origins to dental diseases that in turn originate from an infection caused by a variety of micro-organisms.
How can tooth infection be treated?
There are a lot of ways in which a tooth infection can be treated. The first step is to determine what kind of infection is causing the problem. In cases where pain, or swelling, can be clearly traced back to an offending tooth the treatment begins with trying to take care of that tooth.
If an extraction or a root canal (two common procedures) is enough to take care of the infection then no other supportive treatment needs to be provided. If, however, the infection has spread a lot or the patient is suffering from a disease like diabetes which can compromise the immune response of the patient then concurrent treatment with antibiotics may also be necessary.
In very severe cases of spread of infection where cellulitis has occurred or there is a risk of the patient’s breathing channels to be compromised, immediate hospitalization and the use of intravenous antibiotics may be necessary to bring the situation under control as well.
What are the common antibiotics prescribed for the treatment of dental infection?
The most commonly prescribed antibiotics for dental infection is amoxicillin. It is a broad spectrum antibiotic which means that it covers a vast range of infectious micro-organisms. It is however extremely over-prescribed and that has led to the development of resistance among a large number of people around the world.
Dentists are now being forced to look at other extended-spectrum amoxicillin salts or medicines where it is coupled with clavulanic acid since it helps prevent resistance from emerging in patients.
Other antibiotics that are commonly prescribed for dental infections include metronidazole, clindamycin, and doxycycline.
The use of these antibiotics is restricted to use in patients where a known allergy to amoxicillin exists or resistance has been established by a sensitivity test. Certain conditions where a dental abscess has spread are also best treated with antibiotics like clindamycin or metronidazole.
Doxycycline is an antibiotic which is pretty unique because it is found in higher concentrations in the oral cavity than in other parts of the body. Dentists are thus able to use doxycycline in lower doses and yet achieve the therapeutic results that they are aiming for.
Prevention of dental infection
There are several ways in which dental infections can be prevented or fro re-occurring after they have been treated. The first and foremost method of to maintain good oral hygiene and get a dental checkup done routinely.
The other method is to ensure that any systemic condition or habit which is predisposing the patient to the development of an infection is taken care of.
Our teeth cannot repair themselves and so require attention from the dentist to ensure small infections do not spread and become a problem later on.
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