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Avoiding Antibiotic Misuse During Endodontic Therapy


Going to the dentist causes anxiety under the best of circumstances. That feeling can intensify when visiting an endodontist for issues related to the roots and tissues of the teeth. Besides the thought of pain resulting from various procedures, there’s the worry about making the situation worse by contracting an infection.


Patients may think of antibiotics as nothing more than insurance against complications developing as a result of their procedure. This type of lax attitude towards the use of this drug type has led to a growing crisis around the world.


Growing Bacterial Resistance

Bacteria have become more resistant over the years to commonly used antibiotics. That resilience and adaptability to even the most robust options available have accelerated due to physicians mismanaging when and how they use infection-fighting drugs.


Endodontists aren’t immune to this phenomenon. The American Academy of Endodontists (AAE) estimates that up to 50% of practitioners either administer or prescribe antibiotics incorrectly. The unnecessary disturbance of essential microflora in the digestive system cause patients to experience side effects like stomach cramps, nausea, and gastric discomfort.


Antibiotic Misuse

Not doing due diligence before giving patient’s antibiotics can lead to the following instances of antibiotic misuse, as highlighted by the AAE:

  • Doctors prescribing antibiotics at the request of patients, even if the upcoming procedure doesn’t present a high risk of infection.

  • Prescribing antibiotics instead of performing proper drainage and debridement of tissues.

  • Using antibiotics not suited to a procedure.

Bacteria resistant to common antibiotics end up infecting others. The following diseases once thought to be under control now present the danger of becoming impossible to treat.

  • Tuberculosis

  • Pneumonia

  • Gonorrhea

  • Blood Poisoning

  • Food-Borne Illnesses

Drug-resistant bacteria lead to higher costs for patients and medical practitioners, longer hospital stays, and a higher death rate.


Best Practices for Endodontists

Doctors should be 100% sure of the necessity of an antibiotic before administering or prescribing it to a patient. It helps to ask the following questions before using them as part of any endodontic therapy.

  1. Is there an infection currently present in the patient?

  2. Does the patient have any other issues which heighten the threat of infection (injuries to the structures, other problems with the teeth)?

  3. If an infection is present, has it spread to the head or neck?

  4. Does the status of a patient’s immune system leave them more susceptible to developing a severe infection?

Endodontists shouldn't prescribe antibiotics if they don't see the necessity of them for the current situation. That helps them avoid contributing to the ongoing threat of bacteria resistant to treatment.


Committed to the Best Antibiotic Practices

Foundation Endodontics take care when assessing a patient’s condition before proceeding with any endodontic therapy. Our staff takes the time to carefully evaluate every patient’s condition and never recommend any medication unless it’s necessary.


It’s our goal to deliver high-quality care that doesn’t compromise the well-being of a patient. Experience this commitment for yourself by calling (281) 961-0961 and scheduling an appointment at our Richmond, TX office.

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