As you bite down to chew your dinner, a shooting sensation spikes through one of your back teeth. This agonizing pain dwindles to a persistent, throbbing as you stop mid-chew. If you also have a fever, swollen gums, bad breath, or difficulty swallowing alongside the pain, then you likely have a tooth infection. Also known as a dental abscess, a tooth infection occurs when bacteria in your mouth invades the soft tissue or a tooth - usually through tooth decay or tooth injuries (deep cracks or chips), resulting in an accumulation of pus. If you think you have a tooth infection, schedule an appointment ASAP with one of our dentists, as we can provide timely treatment via the best antibiotic for tooth infection, and stop it from spreading and causing serious complications.
When Are Antibiotics Prescribed for Tooth Infections?
An antibiotic is a type of medication that is used to combat bacterial infections. In the context of tooth infections, antibiotics serve two major purposes: they reduce the presence of any harmful bacteria in the mouth, and they can help stop the infection from spreading and causing more serious issues. Antibiotics can be taken either orally or applied directly to the affected area, depending on the severity of the infection.
If you have severe tooth pain, swelling, and/or a fever, antibiotics are the recommended course of action if the abscess cannot be drained. Not all tooth infections require antibiotics; however, if a dental exam and X-rays reveal that there is a severe infection that has the risk of spreading/has spread, or if you have a weakened immune system, our dentists will prescribe them to reduce the bacteria that’s causing it.
The Best Antibiotic For Tooth Infections Used By Dentists
When it comes to fighting against severe tooth infections, antibiotics are the best bet. While there are multiple types of antibiotics, the following are effective against dental abscesses:
1. The best antibiotic for tooth infections is oral amoxicillin, which is a type of penicillin antibiotic that is often the first choice among dentists as it has the fewest gastrointestinal side effects as reported by patients, and is widely effective in treating tooth infections. This is prescribed at 3-times/day, for 3-7 days.
2. A secondary option here is penicillin V, which is a specific strain of penicillin fungi used to treat a narrow range of bacterial infections - including those found in the mouth. Penicillin V is only prescribed in cases where the bacteria responsible has been identified to be sensitive to this treatment.
3. Now, if you are someone who has a severe allergic reaction to penicillin (amoxicillin, ampicillin, etc.) then the next best antibiotic for tooth infections include either an oral azithromycin for 5-days, or an oral clindamycin 4 times a day, for 3-7 days.
4. If you have a mild allergy to penicillin or penicillin-based antibiotics, then cephalexin is often recommended for 4 times a day, for 3-7 days. This type of antibiotic works by fighting against the bacteria and preventing further growth.
The antibiotics above are only available via a prescription from your dentist, as they are powerful medications that can have serious side effects if not taken correctly. This is why we always advise against self-diagnosing and/or self-medicating, as it can lead to further complications and a much more serious infection.
Caution! Why You Shouldn’t Self-Diagnose or Medicate for Tooth Infections
While there’s nothing wrong with doing a bit of research in an attempt to discover what kind of issue you’re experiencing, you should never try to deal with any oral problem without consulting your dentist. We know that it can be tempting to head to the local pharmacy to pick up some over-the-counter NSAIDs for the pain, but these do not resolve the root cause of the infection, and will only minimize the symptoms you’re experiencing.
In the case of tooth infections, a misdiagnosis or inappropriate treatment can leave the issue unresolved, or even worse off than before. If the infection is left to spread to nearby parts of the body, such as the neck and throat, or even the brain, this can have dangerous, frightening, and long-lasting complications. Therefore, if you have any suspicions of a tooth infection, contact our office today at Family, Implant, and Cosmetic Dentistry, and we’ll be happy to provide you with the best antibiotics for your tooth infection to ensure you get the best treatment possible.