Dental Medications (cont.)
Annette (Gbemudu) Ogbru, PharmD, MBA
Dr. Gbemudu received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Nova Southeastern University, her PharmD degree from University of Maryland, and MBA degree from University of Baltimore. She completed a one year post-doctoral fellowship with Rutgers University and Bristol Myers Squibb.
In this Article
- Introduction to dental medications
- Medications used to control pain and anxiety
- Medications used to treat dental infections
- Other dental medications
Antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxicillin (Amoxil) are used for a variety of infections that may result after dental procedures. Erythromycin (Benzamycin, Emgel, Ery, Ilotycin, Staticin) is usually prescribed when patients have allergies to penicillin or amoxicillin (Amoxil).
Clindamycin (Cleocin HCL) often is used in the treatment of serious infections caused by susceptible anaerobic bacteria and hence are effective for dental abscesses in bone and soft tissue that doesn't respond adequately to penicillin or erythromycin.
Chlorhexidine (marketed as Peridex, PerioChip, and PerioGard amongst others) is an antibiotic used to control plaque and gingivitis in the mouth, or in periodontal pockets (the space between your gum and tooth). Chlorhexidine comes as a chip, which is used as an adjunct to scaling and root planing procedures for reducing the depth of pockets around the teeth in patients with adult periodontitis or as a rinse, which provides antimicrobial activity between dental visits.
Tetracyclines, such as doxycycline (marketed as Atridox) is used to help treat periodontal disease.
Another use of antibiotics in dentistry is for preventing bacteria that are always present on the surface of tissues around teeth from spreading into the blood. This is especially important in patients with some types of defective or artificial heart valves since blood-born bacteria have a tendency to settle on the valves and cause serious infections. The antibiotics may be given orally, intramuscularly, or even intravenously. They usually are begun immediately before the dental surgery and are continued for no more than a few doses, for example, less than a day or so.
Note: Chlorhexidine may cause staining of the tooth, tooth filling, and dentures or other mouth appliances. Tetracycline use during tooth development phases (from the last half of pregnancy through eight years of age) may cause permanent discoloration (yellow, gray, brown) of teeth.
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