Will antibiotics help treat my dental pain?

Antibiotics are often prescribed to treat bacterial infections. When it comes to toothaches, however, an antibiotic prescription should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. By understanding antibiotics, you can talk confidently with your dentist about what’s causing you pain and how to fix it.

Understand your symptoms

Talk to your dentist about your symptoms. Your tooth may hurt when eating hot or cold foods or when you’re doing nothing at all. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen may ease pain in and around your tooth. However, only your dentist knows when to treat pain with antibiotics.

Get to the root of it

If you have a fever, an infection may have spread beyond its original source and an antibiotic can help. If you have an infection that hasn’t spread, it might be treatable at the original source. For example, a contained toothache probably won’t require antibiotics, but you might need dental treatment, such as a root canal, depending on the severity of the infection.

Medications are unique

You wouldn’t share your toothbrush, right? Medications are just as personal—what works for one person may not work for the next. The antibiotic prescribed for someone else’s fever may not treat your toothache and can cause unwanted side effects. Trust the professionals; your dentist knows what will work best for you.

Side effects

While antibiotics are meant to treat painful infections, unwanted side effects can happen. Yeast infections, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are a few side effects associated with antibiotics. Tell your dentist if you’re allergic to any medications or if you have side effects that don’t go away.

Keep antibiotics strong

The overuse of antibiotics can cause bacteria to become harder to kill. Misusing antibiotics may similarly contribute to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Taking antibiotics only when they are prescribed to you can help keep you and your antibiotics strong.

Talking with your dentist about symptoms, pain relief methods and proper antibiotic use can help improve your health and the health of those around you.