The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) says that it applauds the ADA for updating its guidelines on using antibiotics for treating tooth pain.
“The AAE is a worldwide leader and longtime advocate for endodontists, the dental specialty, and patient care,” said AAE president Keith V. Krell, DDS, MS, MA. “As highly skilled and specialized providers of tooth pain relief by way of root canal treatment, the association appreciates the ADA updating these important guidelines.”
The ADA’s recent updates were developed with expert panel representation from the AAE and provide guidance on when antibiotics should be used in dental treatment. According to the new guidelines, antibiotics are not necessary for most instances of dental pain and intraoral swelling.
The ADA guidelines state that healthy adults experiencing tooth or oral pain are best served by dental treatment provided by general dentists or endodontists and, if needed, over the counter pain relievers. These updates also are consistent with the AAE’s guidance released in 2017.
The AAE and ADA also say antibiotics can help treat patients whose dental pain and swelling progress to systemic involvement such as fever or malaise, but generally, the harms of prescribing antibiotics outweigh the benefits. Prescribing antibiotics, when not warranted, can promote antibiotic resistance and may not relieve tooth pain.
“When patients experience tooth pain, they should seek out the care of a highly specialized dental care provider,” said Krell.
“An endodontist is uniquely qualified to treat tooth pain and discuss treatment options, as they’ve completed an additional two or more years of training beyond dental school. Their additional training focuses on diagnosing and treating tooth pain, and their expertise around effective antibiotic treatment is unmatched,” Krell said.
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