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Antibiotic Names And Their Use In Dentistry

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Your kids have names. Your dog has a name. Even your boat has a name. And they all have their role in your life, just like several common antibiotics for your teeth. Sometimes they're used before treatment. And sometimes after. But when they're prescribed, it's for the specific reason of destroying a bacterial infection and helping get your oral health back in shape.

What Are The Antibiotics Used In Dentistry?

There's an assortment of antibiotics that dentists regularly prescribe to their patients for this treatment. The most common include:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Azithromycin
  • Cephalexin
  • Clindamycin
  • Penicillin

The most popular is likely penicillin or amoxicillin. It's not uncommon for some patients to need something stronger or may be allergic to those two. In that case, cephalexin or clindamycin could be prescribed. Azithromycin is helpful when a sinus infection is causing tooth pain. If there's an infection that's severe or in a unique location, a combination of antibiotics may be required.

When Are Antibiotics Needed?

Your mouth is full of bacteria: some good, some bad. When the harmful bacteria spreads and turns into infections, antibiotics are used to stop bacteria growth. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, sometimes a dentist prescribes prophylactic antibiotics before treatment to prevent typical mouth bacteria from creating infections. Those with the following conditions may require prophylaxis:

  • Heart problems
  • Compromised immune system
  • Catheter
  • Shunt
  • Prosthetic joint

When there's an infection that could disrupt the healing process, antibiotics are prescribed after the treatment.

What Are The Dosages And Side Effects Of Common Antibiotics?

There are a few variables when it comes to the antibiotic dosage. Those include:

  • Type of infection
  • Severity of infection
  • Strength of antibiotic
  • Frequency of the dose
  • Dosage found to be most effective

Side effects aren't typical reactions, but they're not uncommon either. Those include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Allergic reaction (always inform your dentist of all known drug allergies)

What Are My Home Care Options?

Brushing and flossing help battle bacteria buildup that could lead to infections. But an antibacterial mouthwash can help rinse away and eliminate bacterial infections before your procedure.

The best name to rely on when it comes to dental antibiotics is your dentist's name. They'll explain why one antibiotic is better than another, when to take it, and how much. And that's something to smile about.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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