A tooth infection, also known as an abscessed tooth, causes pus to occur in the mouth due to bacterial infection. It mainly occurs due to:
- tooth decay
- previous dental work
- oral injuries
Tooth infections may lead to:
When it is not treated on time, they may even spread to the surrounding areas including your brain. If you are suffering from a tooth infection, it is advised to visit a dentist soon to prevent the infection from spreading further. You should be very careful when there is some kind of infection in your mouth and the dentist will prescribe an antibiotic to kill bacteria that cause tooth infection. Read below to know more about different kinds of antibiotics for tooth infections and taking over-the-counter pain relief medications.
Which antibiotics will work the best for tooth infection?
All tooth infections do not require taking antibiotics. There are cases when your dentist can drain the abscess. Other cases require root canal or removal of the infected tooth.
Antibiotics can be taken when:
- your infection has spread
- your infection becomes severe
- you have a weakened immune system
The kinds of antibiotics you require will depend on the bacteria that cause the infection. Different antibiotics can attack bacteria and your dentist will choose an antibiotic that can lessen the infection. Antibiotics of penicillin class such as amoxicillin and penicillin are commonly used to treat tooth infections.
An antibiotic known as metronidazole can be given for bacterial infections. This may be prescribed with penicillin to cover for a wide range of bacterial species. Though penicillin antibiotics are commonly used for treating tooth infections, many people are highly allergic to them. Make sure to tell the dentist about any allergic reaction you have had suffered in the past from medications. In case you are allergic to penicillin, your dentist might suggest different antibiotics such as erythromycin or clindamycin.
How much you should take and for how long?
When you have tooth decay or infection that requires taking an antibiotic, you should take it for at least one week. Depending on the kind of antibiotic you have been prescribed, you will have to take a dose for two to four times a day. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully given by the doctor for taking the antibiotic. You may ask if you are not sure about how to take a medication. You will have to take some courses of antibiotics before they begin to work on the infection.
It is advised to complete the entire course of antibiotics, as prescribed by your dentist even if the symptoms seem to go away. When you do not finish the course, some bacteria might survive thus making it difficult to treat the infection properly.
Are there over-the-counter remedies?
You need to see a dentist when you have a tooth infection as it can spread quickly to other organs. You cannot take any antibiotics without a prescription but there are certain things that can be done at home for instant relief before fixing an appointment with your dentist. These are the following:
- taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- rinse mouth thoroughly with warm and salty water
- avoid hot or cold foods if possible
- try to chew from the opposite side of your mouth
- brush with a soft toothbrush around your affected tooth
Thus, if you face any symptoms of a tooth infection like swelling, constant pain, or sensitivity to temperature, see your nearest emergency dentist in London immediately. Follow the instructions of the dentist when taking antibiotics to relieve the pain and discomfort. Even though the infection seems to be mild, it can get serious without treatment soon. This will enable you to fix the tooth and get rid of oral complications.