Myths surrounding Antibiotic Use In Dentistry

The Winter 2012 Newsletter from the American Association of Endodontists is packed with the newest information on myths surrounding antibiotic use in dentistry. Let’s look at three myths.

Myth #1: Antibiotics cure patients. According to research, antibiotics do not cure. They only help to restore the balance between the patient’s defense and the invading bug.

Myth #2: Antibiotics are a substitute for other dental treatment . It is rare that antibiotics are a good substitute for the removal of the cause of the infection – root canal therapy, extraction, drainage, etc.

Myth # 3: The important decision is which antibiotic to use. Instead, the most important decision is whether to use an antibiotic at all. Again, many mouth infections can be solved by dental treatment and not antibiotics.

Norway and the Superbugs!


You may know someone who developed a bad infection in the hospital while being treated for something else. The costs of these types of infections are $4.4 billion per year in the US alone. Medical and dental overuse of antibiotics is causing a worldwide problem due to mutations of the bacteria to form resistant strains.

A hopeful 2009 report from Norway suggests perhaps the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics may be reversed. Norway is the only country where killer superbugs are not a problem. Why?  “We don’t throw antibiotics at every person with a fever. We tell them to hang on, wait and see…” said Dr. John Haug, infectious disease specialist at Aker University Hospital. Maybe we should be asking our doctors and dentists if we really need that antibiotic next time.