The fact that tooth abscesses are often caused by bacterial infections may make you think that a dose of antibiotics will be enough to take care of your problem. After all, antibiotics are usually the go-to fix for these kinds of infections. The fact is, your dentist may not even give you a course of antibiotics when you have an abscess; even if you do get a prescription, you're also likely to need a root canal treatment. Why?
Antibiotics and Dental Abscesses in the Short Term
In some cases, dentists won't feel that you need any antibiotic treatment before root canal treatment — this may well be the case if you've caught the infection early and it isn't giving you too much trouble. Sometimes, however, you will be given antibiotics as the first stage of your treatment.
This is most likely to happen if you have problems like severe pain in the abscessed tooth, facial swelling or any signs that the infection might be spreading into other teeth/areas of your gums. In these instances, antibiotics will start to get the infection under control and will make you feel more comfortable. Your dentist may simply feel that getting a head-start through antibiotics will make the ensuing root canal process easier and less stressful for you.
Antibiotics and Dental Abscesses in the Long Term
By the time you finish a course of antibiotics, you might feel that the infection that caused the abscess has completely disappeared. Antibiotics can get rid of your abscess pain, reduce swelling and leave your tooth feeling like it did before the abscess. This is, however, not necessarily a permanent fix.
The bacteria that causes a dental abscess sits deep inside the tooth. A course of antibiotics may be able to deal with most of the infection, getting rid of enough of the nasty stuff to take away your immediate pain and swelling, but you may still have some infection left. This may not hurt now or in the near future, but it's likely to build up again over time. You can't keep taking antibiotics every time your abscess flares up, which is why your dentist will be keen to move on with the root canals as soon as possible.
During a root canal procedure, your dentist will clear out the site of the infection thoroughly and block it up. Short of taking the tooth out, this is the most effective way of getting rid of an abscess infection once and for all, so you won't need to go through this process again.
As a mum, I know how essential sport can be to children's development. Through team sports like soccer, kids learn persistence, sportsmanship and the value of supporting their team members. However, all that learning carries some risk as well, and a stray elbow or a ball to the face can result in oral injuries. I have been the mum rushing to the emergency room with a precious permanent tooth sitting in a cup of milk. Admittedly, at the time, I wasn't even sure if the cup of milk was the right solution. As a parent, you will face those situations, and I'm here to make sure you know what to do when they pop up. With this blog, let's explore children's dentistry and sports injuries together... I want you to have the info you need to stay cool, calm and collected, regardless of how many teeth are on the pitch.