Antibiotics You Can Use to Treat Toothache

Toothache can be crippling, and in some cases the pain is considered more intense than childbirth. To make matters worse, there is no instant cure for a toothache. Over-the-counter or prescription painkillers can help ease the pain, but you know it will be back sooner or later. Using antibiotics is the surest way of treating the pain though it might take a couple of days. If you want to permanently heal the toothache, antibiotics are a great option. However, it is recommended that you go see a dentist first.

When Do You Need Antibiotic for Toothache?

To stop jaw or dental pain, medicine and antibiotics are the first option followed by a referral trip to the dentist. The dentist will inject a local anesthetic around the tooth to ease the pain and if the face or gums are swollen, antibiotics are prescribed. Antibiotics can also be used by dentists to ensure the bacterium that is normally present on the tissues around the teeth does not find its way into the blood or collect on the valves for patients who have artificial or defective heart valve, which may lead to serious infections.

Options of Antibiotics for Toothache

1. Penicillin V

It is an earlier version of penicillin which is very effective. It works on few bacteria mostly related with dental infections and hardly causes antibiotic resistance. The negative downside is that it has to be taken in 4 doses spread throughout the day and it is easily to forget to take on time and does not work as it should.

2. Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic in the same family of penicillin, and is prescribed to treat infections caused by bacteria. Amoxicillin is a disrupter of the cell wall creation of bacteria, destroying the bacteria's ability to make certain bonds occur. It is easily absorbed especially if you take it in tablet form and have something to eat with. A daily dose will contain 1000-1500mg which is divided into 3 or 4 doses a day.

3. Erythromycin

Erythromycin is often prescribed to people who are allergic to penicillin. Erythromycin is in a group of drugs called macrolide antibiotics and it is usually prescribed to treat:

  • Dental abscesses
  • Infections around wisdom teeth (pericoronitis)
  • Infections that develop after dental surgery

The typical adult dosage is 250 milligrams to 500 milligrams every 6 hours, for 7 to 10 days. Dosing for children is based on body weight.

On the downside, it might cause different kinds of stomach upsets.

4. Metronidazole

In most countries, it is marketed as Flagyl. It is effective against some bacteria responsible for gum diseases. When taking metronidazole, you should avoid taking alcohol because you will get stomach upsets that might cause you to vomit. This means some of the antibiotic effects are lost and they won’t work effectively.

5. Clamoxyl

Another antibiotic for toothache is clamoxyl. It is a combination of clavulanic acid and amoxicillin. This makes an ideal option because it is resistant to breakdown by some bacteria. While it is effective against a wide range of bacteria, it can also wipe out the good bacteria the body needs.

6. Clindamycin (Cleocin HCL)

It is mostly used to treat serious infections that are caused by susceptible anaerobic bacteria thus an effective treatment for dental abscesses in soft tissue and bone that do not respond to erythromycin or penicillin. If you are allergic to penicillin, clindamycin is a good alternative.

7. Chlorhexidine

Marketed as Peridex, PerioGard and PerioChip among others, it is an antibiotic for toothache used mostly to control gingivitis and plaque in the mouth or in the space between the tooth and the gum (periodontal pockets). It comes as chip that is used to help in root planing and scaling procedures for decreasing the depth of pockets around the teeth for patients who have adult periodontitis. It also comes as rinse that provides antimicrobial activity between visits to the dentist. Note that Chlorhexidine can cause teeth, dentures, fillings and other mouth appliances to stain.

8. Tetracyclines

They include doxycycline (marketed as Atridox) that is used in the treatment of periodontal disease. Tetracycline can also cause permanent discoloration if it is used during tooth development phases (last month of pregnancy to 8 years of age). The teeth might turn brown yellow or gray.

Precautions on Using Antibiotics for Toothache

Limitations of Antibiotics

Despite the fact that antibiotics have been seen to be effective against various types of bacteria and several infections, they have been deemed ineffective against toothaches that occur as a result of irreversible pulpits. In such cases, prolonged administration of analgesics is the only treatment.

Avoid Abusing of Antibiotics

In order to reduce development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, prescription of inappropriate antibiotic for toothache should be reduced. Dentists in developed countries prescribe 8-10% of all primary antibiotics and this might cause antibiotic resistance. For this reason, antibiotics should only be prescribed if it is clinically beneficial to the patient.

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