Antibiotics for Root Canal Infections
As a dentist in Lakewood, CO, Dr. Randall S Wise DDS says it is not unheard of for dentists to prescribe antibiotics to patients during or immediately after their root canal procedures. Although antibiotics alone cannot cure most infected teeth, they can help prevent an infection from spreading during the time between when a problem is diagnosed and when a root canal takes place.
Root canals are often necessary when patients have cavities that have gone undiagnosed and untreated for an extended period of time. A cavity that is allowed to fester and can easily continue to grow and become infected. When the dentin along the outside of a tooth is eroded by decay and bacteria is able to infect the dental pulp, a root canal is the procedure that most dentists will recommend to remedy the situation.
The problem with using oral antibiotics to treat this type of infection, and the reason why a root canal is still necessary even if a patient does take some type of prescription medication, is because antibiotics themselves usually cannot get into the infected area inside of a tooth. Nonetheless, a dentist in Lakewood, CO, may still prescribe an antibiotic to a patient during or immediately following his root canal procedure as a way to kill anything still lingering in the tissues surrounding the teeth or the jawbone.
Once a dentist has performed a root canal and it becomes obvious that the procedure itself is failing – either because of changes on the x-ray or because of the new symptoms a patient is feeling – then Dr. Wise says the likelihood of an antibiotic working to eliminate an infection is low.
As he explains, some people’s bodies have a way to isolating their infections pretty well on their own. If a person’s body is keeping an infection isolated, then there is no way any antibiotics are going to be able to get through the barriers of the teeth and penetrate it, either. A dentist could give a patient antibiotics until the patient is turning green, jokes Dr. Wise, and it is still not going to help control the infection in his or her mouth.
Quite often, the only way to control that type of infection is to go back in and re-treat the canal itself using endodontic therapy. According the Lakewood, CO, dentist, he would be far more likely to do a follow up surgery to clean out the infected area, depending on the circumstances of the individual situation.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.