Sometimes treatment of dental infections may not be enough! Antibiotics for dental procedures come handy in such cases. Scroll down to know more!

Antibiotics for dental procedures

Antibiotics for Dental Work

This article will help you gain insights into the drug aspects of dentistry.

Antibiotics are medications that help the human immune system fight infections caused by bacteria.

The mode of action involves killing the bacteria or limiting their growth and multiplication. [1]

Are Antibiotics Necessary for Dental Procedures?

Well, the answer is yes and no! Confused? Antibiotics are not always prescribed after dental work.

As per AHA, antibiotics are only required in certain dental procedures with the highest risk of infection. [2]

Up to 91% of adults aged 20–64 have cavities. [3]

However, routine dental procedures like cleaning and repairing a chipped tooth do not require antibiotics.

Additionally, cavity fillings, crowns and even most root canal treatments do not need to be preceded with antibiotics. [4]

Advised on prescription, antibiotics only act as adjuncts to drive away dental infections in addition to the conventional treatments.

Who Needs Antibiotics Before Dental Work?

According to the latest dental antibiotic guidelines, only a few conditions require a prior antibiotic course to be completed before the onset of a dental procedure.

Some of these include [5]

  • Heart defects since birth
  • History of bacterial infection of the heart
  • Heart repairs done with prosthetic devices.
  • Joint replacement surgeries with complications
  • Heart transplants with recurrence of abnormal findings
  • Patients with uncontrolled diabetes or severely compromised immune systems
  • Acute infections which cannot be immediately treated due to excess swelling and infection.
Source: ADA [6]

Antibiotics given prior to extraction procedure (wisdom tooth) reduce the risk of infection and dry socket. [7]

Additionally, a few other medical conditions also require antibiotic prophylaxis.

It must be kept in mind that, based on your individual case requirement, you may be advised antibiotics before or after treatment as needed.

General Indications for Antibiotics in Dental Treatments

Dental professionals may prescribe antibiotics for: [8]

  • Gum surgeries
  • Complicated dental extractions
  • Removal of cysts, tumors or infected mass
  • Draining of infected site involving pus/swelling
  • Root canal treatments in teeth with dental abscess
  • Any procedures involving perforation of the oral soft tissues

Bone, soft tissue, local, and generalized infections are the major causes of antibiotic usage. [9]

Antibiotics help by treating these existing infections and preventing oral bacteria from spreading and causing other health diseases

Why Is It Important To Take Antibiotic After Dental Treatment?

Post dental treatments the wound site is usually prone to attack from harmful bacteria.

Since our oral cavity has a wide range of bacterial flora, the risk of microbial contamination increases.

This is specially true in cases with tooth extractions.

Prescribed antibiotics are thus effective in preventing and treating such infections. [10]

Final Word

Although these antimicrobials help fight most dental infections, do not consider them a one-stop solution.

Always consult your dentist before considering these options or self-medicating.


The drug of choice commonly after tooth extraction is usually penicillin. [11]

Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid or clindamycin may also be prescribed depending on the case. [12]

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