Many dental diseases are caused by bacteria and acute infections can arise from unrecognized dental disease and/or delayed care. Dentists currently rank #3 in U.S. antibiotic prescriptions, and it is estimated that between 30-85% of these prescriptions were suboptimal or not indicated.3-5 Given the serious implications of antibiotic drug resistance on patients and communities, oral healthcare providers must be part of any solution for altering prescribing patterns in dental settings. It is critical, therefore, that dentists be fully aware of the risks and benefits associated with the prescription of antibacterial agents in the dental setting. The decision to prescribe an antibiotic agent to address pulpal- and periapical-related dental pain should be based on the recently released ADA evidenced-based guidelines and generally restricted to situations in which systemic involvement is present. Adoption of these guidelines in clinical practice should reduce the incidence of antibiotic resistance and other adverse reactions attributable to the dental profession.
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