Sun. May 19th, 2024

Rockford Health System

The Significance of Antibiotics for Toothache

4 min read
woman taking pill for toothache

It is not always necessary to take antibiotics when you are experiencing a toothache. In some cases, a regular painkiller can alleviate the pain efficiently. However, there are instances that a mere painkiller is not enough to relieve the pain, especially with an abscessed tooth because of tooth infection. In a situation like this, what we would recommend is to brush your teeth thoroughly and visit your dentist so they can provide the appropriate treatment after diagnosis. Your dentist is still the best person to determine if antibiotics are required or not. If the tooth needs to be extracted then your dentist will make sure the procedure is comfortable for you. General anesthesia for wisdom tooth removal is one of the options your dentist might offer before the extraction.


Tooth Infection and Antibiotics Overview

Tooth infection is one of the most common reasons for a toothache. It can be caused by tooth decay, injury, or previous dental work with complications. If left untreated, it can lead to intense pain, abscessed tooth, and swelling that can spread further, affecting other healthy teeth. The severity of the infection should not be treated lightly. Whether it’s mild or severe, you should see a dentist to prevent the spreading of the bacteria. There are worst cases that the bacteria can spread to your brain if not treated at an early stage. Your dentist will use an autoclave to make sure that his/her instrument is sterilized.


The typical method of treatment for tooth infection with an abscessed tooth is to drain the abscess, root canal, or tooth extraction. Antibiotics are administered if the infection is too severe, or has spread considerably. Another reason is that if you have a compromised immune system. The antibiotics that your dentist will prescribe depends on the type of bacteria that caused the tooth infection. Antibiotics have different classes that kill bacteria in different ways. The most common types are under the penicillin class like amoxicillin or penicillin. Another type can be combined with the penicillin class without adverse effects; it is called metronidazole. Metronidazole is capable of attacking a wider variety of bacteria species effectively. If you are allergic to the penicillin class, your dentist will prescribe clindamycin or erythromycin as an alternative.


Treatment Duration

The duration for the treatment depends on the severity of the infection. If the abscessed tooth has been drained of the pus efficiently, the medicine may only last for a week. But, if a large area has already been affected by the infection, the duration of the treatment may be longer, and the dosage of the antibiotic may be higher. One example is the wisdom tooth. If your wisdom tooth is severely infected, the best option is either root canal or extraction. If the root canal procedure is successful and no other teeth are damaged, a week of treatment is usually enough, followed by proper dental hygiene.


Efficient Home Remedies for Relief

Home remedies provide initial relief for toothaches that are practised all over the world for generations. Although they offer a temporary treatment, they help relieve the general pain and discomfort effectively. These methods are recommended if you don’t have time to visit your dentist yet. They are simple but exceptionally efficient.

Here are some tips that can help you:

  • Over the counter pain killers like Tylenol®, Advil®, or Motrin®.
  • Rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water
  • Avoid warm or hot foods
  • Do not chew with the infected tooth
  • Avoid hard foods and sweets
  • Avoid acidic foods
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles

You can also try these home remedies for an abscessed tooth:

  • Rinse with baking soda – mix with warm water and salt
  • Oregano essential oil – Swab a few drops using cotton on the abscessed tooth
  • Use cold compress
  • Fenugreek tea – boil in water and apply to the area when cool
  • Clove essential oil – use as a mouthwash
  • Thyme essential oil – use as a mouthwash
  • Hydrogen peroxide – use as a mouthwash
  • Garlic – make a paste and apply on the abscessed tooth

Aside from home remedies, it is still best to visit your dentist to provide the best recommendations after the initial diagnosis. Home remedies offer temporary relief, but prescribed medications are always the best option. We still recommend visiting your dentist in cases like these because the treatment depends on the evaluation. Depending on your dentist’s impression, the process may take more than one appointment.



When it comes to your dental health, the best treatment is always good oral hygiene. With regular brushing and oral care, you can prevent tooth decays and other oral health problems. Aside from these factors, practise visiting your dentist regularly as well. They can provide tips and suggestions on how to promote a healthier lifestyle for your oral health. Your dentist can use the right tools and equipment that is safe and efficient for your treatments. Practitioners prefer major brands like Cattani for their clinics.

Antibiotics are only required if the infection is prominent. And the administration should always be from your dentist’s advice. Keep in mind that taking antibiotics on your own without prescription can cause moderate to severe adverse health effects. Some of them can trigger allergic reactions that may be fatal to some individuals.

Another factor is that antibiotics are highly potent drugs that can affect your digestive, cardiovascular, or respiratory system negatively. You are at risk if you choose to take antibiotics on your own.

The best way to maintain your oral health is discipline and regular visits to your dentist. These are the most efficient ways of keeping your teeth and gums healthy at all times.