A dental infection usually occurs as a result of tooth decay and poor oral hygiene. However, it can also occur due to previously performed dental care or an accident.
When a tooth infection occurs, a local accumulation of pus forms in the mouth (also called a dental abscess) because the cause has not been treated. Symptoms of a tooth infection often include swelling, pain and sensitivity in the affected area. An infection in the tooth can be dangerous because, without treatment, a tooth infection can spread to other areas of the jaw, sinuses, throat and, in the worst case, to the brain.
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Caries and cavities in the teeth are one of the most common dental conditions. Up to 91% of all adults between 20–64 have one or more cavities in their teeth. Around 27% of the same age group also suffer from untreated caries. Treating tooth decay early is extremely important to prevent complications such as a tooth infection from occurring.
Anyone suffering from a tooth infection should see a dentist as soon as possible to prevent the tooth infection from spreading. One of the first measures a dentist usually recommends is antibiotics to treat the tooth infection. Some antibiotics work better than others to treat dental infections, and in many cases, there are even over-the-counter medications available at your local pharmacy to ease the symptoms of a dental infection.
When are antibiotics needed for a tooth infection?
Dentists only suggest treating a tooth infection with antibiotics on site in the clinic, however not all tooth infections require antibiotics.
In some cases, it is enough for the dentist to drain the infected area, remove the infected tooth or perform a root canal to fix the problem.
A dentist avoids suggesting antibiotics until it is clear that it is absolutely necessary to treat the tooth infection. Treatment with antibiotics is often necessary when the dental infection is serious and has started to spread to other areas or when the affected person has a weakened immune system.
Different types of antibiotics
Although antibiotics can help treat a tooth infection, it is important to use the appropriate antibiotics for each situation.
Which antibiotic for dental infections a dentist recommends varies depending on the type of bacteria that caused the infection. This is because different antibiotics work in different ways to remove different types of bacteria.
There can be over 150 different types of bacteria in the mouth and many of these bacteria have the potential to grow and cause a tooth infection.
Penicillin is a common type of antibiotic used for dental infections and probably the type of antibiotic most people are familiar with. This includes both Kåvepenin and amoxicillin. In some cases, treatment with amoxicillin containing clavulanic acid may be recommended to treat the most stubborn bacteria.
Sometimes you need to use alternative antibiotics as some bacteria are resistant to the above penicillin. This makes the medicine less effective. Another reason for choosing a different type of antibiotic may be that the patient is allergic to Kåvepenin or Amoxicillin in particular. If you have ever had an allergic reaction to antibiotics, you should always tell your dentist before any treatment is carried out.
Clindamycin is effective against a large number of infectious bacteria. According to a study in the International Dental Journal some researchers have suggested using clindamycin as the first choice of antibiotic when treating dental infections because the bacteria have a lower chance of being resistant to clindamycin than common penicillin-class antibiotics.
Azithromycin works for a wide variety of bacteria and helps prevent them from growing. It may be effective in treating dental infections, but dentists usually only recommend azithromycin to people who are allergic or resistant to penicillin-class antibiotics.
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