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Dental Infections (also referred to as an abscess) generally develops as a result of untreated tooth decay and poor oral hygiene. However, a dental infection can also develop from other reasons previous dental work or traumatic injury. When a dental infection begins to develop, a pocket of pus forms in the mouth as a result of an overwhelming growth of bacteria. Symptoms of a dental infection often includes swelling, pain (often radiating away from area), and sensitivity in the area. It is vital to seek professional treatment as without proper and timely treatment, the dental infection may spread to other areas of the jaw or even the brain.

Tooth decay and cavities are very common. About 90% of adults ages 20–64 have had prior tooth decay. Also, almost 30% of people in the same age group have untreated tooth decay. Treating tooth decay early is important to prevent further complications such as dental infections which can often lead to tooth loss.

Anyone who experiences dental infections should see a dentist immediately to prevent the dental infections from spreading.

One of the initial options for a dentist is to recommend an antibiotic to kill dental infections. Some antibiotics will work better than others. This is due to the type of bacteria causing the actual infection., There may also be some over-the-counter pain medications to help relieve the dental infection symptoms temporarily.

Antibiotic Use For Dental Infections

Dentists generally only recommend antibiotics for dental infections. However, not all infected teeth will require antibiotics during treatment. In some instances, a dentist may be able to drain the infected area of pus, remove the infected tooth, or complete a root canal procedure to fix the issue. Antibiotics should not be used unless absolutely necessary to complete dental infections treatment.

Antibiotic Types And Dosages For Dental Infections

The type and dosage of antibiotic your dentist will recommend will vary depending on the type of bacteria that causes dental infections. Different antibiotics work in different ways to eliminate different strains of bacteria. There are over 150 different strains of bacteria that are present in the oral cavity. Many of these bacteria have the potential to grow and cause a dental infection. Treatment can change depending on the bacteria causing the dental infection, although, dentists simply recommend an antibiotic that works against many types. This gives them the best chance to handle the infection effectively and quickly.

Classes Of Penicillin For Dental Infections

Penicillin type drugs are common forms of antibiotics for dental infections. This includes penicillin and amoxicillin. Some dentists may also recommend amoxicillin with clavulanic acid, as that combination may help eliminate bacteria that are being unsuccessfully treated by previous drugs.

Typical dosages of amoxicillin for a dental infection are either 500 milligrams (mg) every 8 hours or 1,000 mg every 12 hours.

Typical dosages of amoxicillin with clavulanic acid are around 500–2,000 mg every 8 hours or 2,000 mg every 12 hours, depending on the minimum effective dosage.

However, some bacteria have been found to resist these drugs, making them less effective. In fact, many doctors now simply choose a different antibiotic as their 1st line of treatment.

Dentists must also be aware that some people are allergic to these drugs. Anyone who has had an allergic reaction to similar medications should tell their dentist immediately before receiving their treatment recommendation.

-Clindamycin

Clindamycin is highly effective against a wide range of infectious bacteria. Some researchers recommend clindamycin as the drug of choice to treat dental infections, as bacteria may be less likely to resist this drug than penicillin-class drugs.

A typical dosage of clindamycin is either 300 mg or 600 mg every 8 hours, depending on which dosage will be effective for the individual situation.

-Azithromycin

Azithromycin also is able to work against a wide variety of bacteria, working to halt their growth. It may be effective in treating some dental infections, though dentists may only recommend it to people who are allergic to penicillin-class drugs or who do not respond to them or other drugs such as clindamycin.

 The typical dosage of azithromycin is 500 mg every 24 hours for 3 consecutive days.

-Metronidazole

Metronidazole is an antibiotic uses to treat a number of infections by both doctors and dentists. This drug is typically not the 1st choice of treatment.

The dosage for metronidazole is around 500–750 mg every 8 hours.

Time To Begin Feeling Better?

The speed with which each antibiotic takes to work on the dental infection varies depending on many factors. These can include the severity of the infection and how effective the drug is at eliminating the infectious bacteria present.

It is imperative for people to complete a full round of antibiotics, taking all of the prescribed medication exactly how the dentist says to take it. A person may begin to notice their symptoms go away after a couple of doses, completing the full dosage of antibiotics helps prevent the infection from returning or getting stronger.

The majority of acute infections resolve in 3–7 days.

Side effects Of Antibiotics For Dental Infections

While antibiotics are very effective for dental infections they can have some possible side effects. These side effects will vary by antibiotic type and individual. It is important to speak with your dentist regarding possible side effects and what to expect.

Dental Infection Treatments Beyond Antibiotics

Antibiotics may help clear active dental infections, but the tooth will still need work to clear up the root of the dental  infection. Antibiotic treatment is just one part of the treatment.

Typical treatment for dental infection can include one or more of the following procedures:

-draining the abscess

-filling in any cavities

-performing a root canal

-extracting the infected tooth

Natural Remedies For Dental infections

Some over the counter remedies may also help “control” the symptoms of a dental infection. This can include over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Sodium naproxen (Alleve).

Other things to try to relive symptoms at home:

-gently rinsing the mouth with warm salt water

-rinsing gently with baking soda and water

-avoiding very hot or very cold foods to prevent temperature sensitivity

-chewing with the opposite side of the mouth

-brushing with a very soft toothbrush around the sensitive area

-avoiding very sharp, hard-to-chew foods that may bump into the sensitive area or become stuck in the teeth

-sleeping with your head elevated to relive pressure

Dental Infections Summary

Antibiotics are not the sole answer to dental infections. They are a part of a larger dental infection treatment. Most if not all dental infections require further dental work by your dentist. This can include a root canal or a tooth extraction.

Prompt dental treatment is important to keep dental infections from spreading and making things more dangerous and painful. Some helpful home remedies mentioned above may help keep inflammation down or ease pain while taking antibiotics and preparing for the recommended dental procedure. maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen, such as brushing and flossing each day and seeing a dentist for regular checkups, may help prevent dental infections and their complications.



Any type of oral surgery can be an extremely nervous time for a patient. In the case of an impacted wisdom teeth it is very necessary. This is because impacted wisdom teeth left untreated can cause all sorts of issues affecting your dental health. Below you will find the top five (5) reasons to have your impacted wisdom teethremoved to avoid future dental issues.

Top 5 Reasons To Remove Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Lack Of Space. One of the main reasons wisdom teeth can cause so many dental issues is because there simply is not enough room in most people’s mouths for them. Most people only have room for 28 teeth. With the wisdom teeth you would have 32 teeth.

Crowding Leading To Crooked Teeth. The pressure of your wisdom teeth attempting to erupt can place forces on your other teeth pushing them forward. Causing crowding. This is especially concerning to those who have already had orthodontic treatment. If left untreated it can lead to further orthodontic treatment to recorrect the crwoding.

Cyst/Tumor Development. A cyst can develop in the sac of the developing wisdom tooth. If a cyst develops it can lead to damage to surrounding teeth as well as to the bone of the jaws. Infection and tumor development is also a possibility.

Nerve Damage. It is vital to remove your wisdom teeth when recommended. As they develop it is possible they develop in the area of the nerves of the jaws. Damage to these nerves can cause permanent damage.

Infection. Developing of an oral infection is a definite possibility and should be addressed immediately. Infection will pose a risk for both your dental and general health. Dentally, infection can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, and periodontal disease.

Conclusion

An impacted wisdom tooth should be removed based on your dentist’s recommendations. The complications that could develop are not worth the risk of leaving them alone. Routine dental examinations and professional cleanings will allow your dentist the time to make the proper diagnosis as to when and if they need to be removed.



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If you have a damaged (from tooth decay or even periodontal disease) or traumatized tooth, extraction is not the only option as there is a chance that you can save your natural tooth. Whenever possible, it is always better to save your teeth rather than lose them, as missing teeth have negative effects on confidence, ability to chew, general health and the alignment of the remaining teeth. Here are the alternative procedures to tooth extraction if you would like to keep a beautiful, natural smile.

Save Your Teeth with Root Canal Procedures

Root canal treatment is the most popular alternative to teeth extraction. Endodontic treatment or a root canal treats the living parts found inside the teeth known as the pulp. The pulp consists of the soft tissue inside the teeth made up of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues that nourish the root during the development stage. When the teeth develop fully, it is possible to remove the pulp without affecting the teeth since the supporting tissues provide nourishment.

Tooth decay, repeat dental procedures, cracks, chips, trauma caused by accidents and faulty crowns can trigger infections and inflammation of the pulp. Root canal therapy treats the damaged pulp preventing major pain and abscess. Root canal treatment involves the non-surgical removal of the infected or inflamed pulp. The resulting hollow is cleaned, disinfected, shaped, filled and sealed to prevent further infections. A tooth restoration procedure using a crown or filling follows to restore the tooth to its normal function and structure. After root canal treatment, teeth can last for a lifetime without requiring another root canal treatment or dental procedure.

Save Your Teeth with Endodontic Surgery

Another alternative to losing teeth through extraction is to undergo endodontic surgery. One of the most popular surgeries is apicoectomy or root-end resection done when the inflammation or infection continues spreading to the bony tissue even after root canal treatment. An endodontist removes the infected area and sometimes part of the root and then seals the area. This is a safe procedure made comfortable by the use of local anesthesia. There are no serious complications and the bone heals within a few months.

Another sophisticated endodontic surgery procedure to save the teeth is intentional replantation. This involves the removal of the infected teeth for treatment outside the mouth. After treatment, an endodontist plants the tooth back in its socket and it resumes normal operation without the infection. Other surgery options to save the teeth include separating the tooth into two halves, or surgery to fix or remove an injured root.

Endodontic surgery is beneficial in the following situations:

  • For diagnosis and treatment of root infections, minor fractures and tiny canals that do not show on the x-rays; yet there are symptoms of infection.
  • For cleaning, treatment and sealing of too narrow canals that root canal treatment instruments cannot penetrate to reach the roots.
  • For treatment of teeth that fail to heal after a root canal treatment or develop infections after a root canal procedure.
  • For treatment of damaged roots and supporting bone structure of the teeth.

Other Ways to Save Your Damaged or Dying Teeth

Medication

Some people take painkillers to eliminate toothache and other symptoms instead of undergoing a tooth extraction immediately. However, this does not deal with the root problem but only eliminates the symptoms. It is possible to treat some infections using antibiotics, however. Still, it’s best to consult your dentist to find out the best solution for your specific needs.

Early Periodontal Disease Treatment

For people with mild gum disease, tooth loss is inevitable if the mild gum disease goes untreated and develops into chronic periodontal inflammation. Early diagnosis and treatment of gum disease is the best way to prevent tooth loss associated with periodontal disease.

Apart from endodontic procedures, maintaining proper dental hygiene is the best way to save your teeth from extraction or any other restorative dental procedure. Proper dental care involves brushing teeth properly at least twice a day, flossing daily, following a healthy diet and visiting the dentist regularly. This prevents damage to the teeth in the first place, thereby eliminating the need to undergo root canal treatment or teeth extraction. This is also the best way to ensure your teeth stay healthy for a long time and delay tooth loss.

If it is too late or impossible to save the teeth and extraction is inevitable, replacing the extracted teeth with dental implants and other structures is the best way to avoid the negative effects of physically visible tooth loss.

Conclusion

It is important to see your dentist regularly for routine dental care and examinations. This will help prevent the issues listed above. Maintaining good dental health will lead to a lifetime of smiles.



Dental X-rays are an integral part of proper dental care. Most of us pose the question…Why do I need to have x-rays?? For starters, dental x-rays give your dentist a view of many oral issues that are not visible to the naked eye. This “photograph” of your dental skeleton allows your dentist information to make a better diagnosis, find potentially dangerous issues and  keep your dental health where it should be. Without routine dental x-rays small issues can develop into much bigger ones.

Benefits Of Dental X-Rays

A dental x-ray gives your dentist a closer look at the teeth, the surrounding bones, the jaws, dental decay, infection, and disease of your oral cavity. The following are some of the benefits of dental x-rays:

Detection Of Tooth Decay. While a dentist can see some tooth decay during your visual and manual examination, they are unable to see between the teeth, under fillings, and below the gum line. A dental x-ray can allow a much better view of damage to the teeth, and roots.

Presence Of Tumors In The Bone. A tumor can develop undetected inside the bone. If dental x-rays are taken routinely, it often gives the dentist the ability to detect developing tumors at an early stage.  Some tumors are harmless, while others are quite aggressive leading to loss of jaw bone and teeth. The best prognosis for treatment of tumors depends upon early diagnosis.

Diagnosis Of Periodontal Disease. One of the key tools in diagnosis periodontal disease are dental x-rays. Once periodontal disease develops past its earliest stages there will be loss of supporting bone. Using dental x-rays your dentist can see the progression and even the improvement once treatment begins. Without early diagnosis, the periodontal disease will progress, and proper treatment to slow progression will not occur.

Infections. These will be noted on dental x-rays as dark spots in the bone. An infection in the bone can be very destructive and if left untreated can lead to facial swellings,  lost teeth, lost bone, pain, and may be potentially life threatening.

Locate Teeth. Some teeth do not develop properly, are extremely out of position, may not be present, may have extra teeth, or tooth fragments may be impacted in the bone. It is important to know what is or is not a potential problem, and some may need to be extracted or re-directed by an orthodontist so as not to harm other teeth.

Check For Children’s Development. Dental x-rays give your dentist the ability to check your child’s development and ensure all the teeth are developing properly. Knowledge ahead of time will help you plan ahead for space management issues (crowding), growth management issues (upper and lower jaws severely out of alignment), lack of permanent tooth development (may require maintaining baby teeth for a much longer time period), extra teeth (usually require extraction).

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

This is a common concern especially among new parents. It is important to note that dental x-rays use very little radiation. Most people living in the United States today are exposed to a 100 times more radiation in a single year just from environmental sources. Remember not to confuse medical x-rays and dental x-rays. Medical x-rays use significant amounts of radiation while dental x-rays are extremely low radiation exposure.  Your dentist will take all the necessary precautions in limiting your exposure. This includes the following:

-Follow the ALARA Principle. ALARA stands for “As Low As Reasonably Achievable”.

-Use Of The Fastest Speed Film.

-Using As Small An X-Ray Beam As Possible.

-Use Of Lead Aprons.

-Following ADA standards of care in # and frequency with which x-rays are taken.

Dental X-Rays Conclusion

If you are concerned about dental x-ray safety speak to your dentist. A good dentist will be open to your concerns and attempt to alleviate your fears while keeping you safe. If you are seeing a new dentist for the first time, request copies of your old x-rays from your previous dentist. This may help limit new x-rays being taken but also give your new dentist a history of progression of any issues you might have been developing.

Dental x-rays are an important part of a thorough dental examination. While there may be some precautions to take, the benefits definitely outweigh the risks of not having dental x-rays. See your dentist regularly for routine dental examinations and x-rays to diagnose issues early, before they become larger, more dangerous problems.