The American Association of Endodontists (AAE), a global membership organization of specialized dentists who provide root canal treatment, applauds the American Dental Association for updating its guidelines on using antibiotics to treat tooth pain.
The AAE is a worldwide leader and long-time advocate for endodontists, the dental specialty and patient care. 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."
Dr. Keith V. Krell, AAE President
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 guidelines, antibiotics are not necessary for most instances of dental pain and intra-oral 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 are also consistent with the AAE's guidance released in 2017.
The AAE and the 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," Dr. Krell said. "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."