Most people take antibiotics to treat the infection in their mouth. However, the best antibiotics for dental infection may depend on the seriousness of the condition. In fact, numerous antibiotics can kill the common bacteria in the mouth that cause infections. That is why it is better to consult a dental specialist before taking a particular antibiotic for dental infections. This article outlines the most common antibiotics for tooth infections, including other possible treatments and when to look for immediate medical intervention.
What is a Tooth Infection?
Tooth infections often happen because of the presence of bacteria in the mouth. Hence, treatment will likely include antibiotics.
It is natural for the mouth to have bacteria. As a matter of fact, this bacteria covers the teeth, tongue, and other tissues. However, bacterial infection can occur when these bacteria develop within the tooth, gums, or other areas in the mouth.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), infection in the mouth typically happens due to poor oral hygiene, prompting plaque buildup and tooth decay. In addition, dental infections can also occur because of injury to the tooth or any dental procedure that exposes the skin of your mouth.
The Difference Between Dental Abscess and Dental Infection
Tooth infection is usually called a dental abscess, though there is a slight difference between the two. In fact, an infection in the mouth can appear as a cavity, pulpitis, or a dental or periodontal abscess.
A cavity causes the tooth enamel, the hard surface of the teeth, to start to break down. If it happens rapidly, this can be painful. However, numerous cavities or dental caries do not cause immediate side effects.
If the infection affects the pulp, the middle part of the tooth, it causes pulpitis. This condition typically produces a toothache, which can be triggered by hot and cold foods and drinks.
Lastly, if left untreated, it can form a tooth abscess, also known as a periapical abscess. Once the infection has nowhere else to go, it creates a pocket of pus, an abscess. If it affects the deeper part of the gums, it is called periodontal or gum abscess.
Common Symptoms of Dental Infections
Tooth pain is usually the most common indication of oral infections. And since the teeth connect to many nerves, the pain from an infected tooth can radiate to the face, jaw, and neck. Other symptoms to look for include:
- Tenderness around the affected tooth
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
- Swelling of the mouth, jaw, or face
If you have an infected or abscessed tooth that bursts open all alone, you may taste a strong, salty liquid that could likewise smell bad.
The best way to prevent dental infections is to see your dentist regularly and maintain good oral hygiene practices.
Best Antibiotic To Treat Tooth Infections
Generally, untreated tooth decay can lead to various oral health problems such as infections. You will probably take antibiotics for 7 to 10 days to eliminate your tooth infection. Commonly prescribed antibiotics include:
Penicillins are a type of antibiotic that can treat bacterial infections. In fact, amoxicillin and amoxicillin with clavulanate have belonged to the category of penicillin. Usually, amoxicillin is the first-line antibiotic for tooth infection treatment. When it combines with clavulanate, it makes the drug even more effective. So, if you have a severe tooth infection, your dentist may recommend amoxicillin with clavulanate rather than regular amoxicillin.
Some bacteria that cause tooth infection might be resistant to amoxicillin. Or on the other hand, you might have a penicillin allergy which may cause your mouth or throat to swell. Because of these, your dentist may consider other antibiotics like clindamycin.
This antibiotic can treat mouth infections, but it is not used without the guidance of a professional. Sometimes, your dentist may prescribe both penicillin and metronidazole for additional bacteria-fighting power. Simply be careful to avoid all alcohol or alcohol-containing items like mouthwash while taking metronidazole to keep from becoming seriously sick.
These antibiotics are not only applicable to your dental infection. In fact, they can also be used for eye complications or other health issues. Just make sure to consult a doctor before taking one.
In addition, According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, at times, a dentist recommends other antibiotics like prophylactic antibiotics before treatment to prevent common oral bacteria from creating infections.
Antibiotics may help clear the active infection. However, the tooth will require dental treatment to keep the infection under control. This commonly implies going through one or more dental procedures, such as:
- filling in any cavities
- doing root canal treatment
- draining the abscess
- performing tooth extraction
When To See A Doctor
Untreated mouth infections can spread to other parts of your body, such as your jaw, face, neck, or even your bloodstream, which can be life-threatening. In fact, an infection can travel to your brain but very rarely. If you notice any of the following symptoms, seek medical help immediately:
- Sore throat
- Stiff neck
- Redness or swelling in your face or neck
- Pain or trouble opening or touching your mouth, jaw, or face
- Confusion and extreme drowsiness
- Change in your voice
- Changes in mood
- Severe pain and overall feeling of being unwell
Suppose you have any symptoms that might indicate your tooth infection has spread. Then, visit a local dental provider like MLD’s Burwood clinic or an emergency department immediately.
Sugars and dental caries.
Amoxicillin and Clavulanate.