Tips for prescribing antibiotics for dental pain, swelling

By | November 27, 2019

While antibiotics can be a vital tool in a dentist’s practice, continuing to prescribe them wisely can help to ensure they remain effective.

The ADA has pledged commitment to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Antimicrobial Resistance Challenge and has released the latest clinical practice guideline on antibiotic use for dental pain and swelling.

Don’t have time to read the full guideline? Check out our recent Facebook Live video where guideline coauthor Dr. Erinne Kennedy and dental student Hannah Cho highlight what you need to know. Get the scoop from the ADA’s Ask an Expert: Tips for Prescribing Antibiotics video below.

Download the full guideline and get free resources at You’ll find chairside guides for easy access during treatment, an online tool to help guide prescribing decisions and a patient video to help explain why antibiotics might not be the best course of treatment.

4 thoughts on “Tips for prescribing antibiotics for dental pain, swelling

  1. Amy Hanson

    Great presentation! I’m an Infectious Disease Pharmacist with Chicago Department of Public Health. Prior to joining the health dept last year, I was the ID PharmD at Rush in Chicago for >5 years post PGY-1 at Mercy and PGY2 ID residency training through Midwestern University at Rush. We have distributed Dental Stewardship binders to ~200 Chicago Dental Clinics (content found here: over the past few months. The content was developed/printed just before these guidelines, and a few other important updated pieces of literature in dental stewardship were published! (ex: Goff DA Review of Guidelines for Dental Abx Ppx for Prevention of Endocarditis and PJIs and Need for Dental Stewardship in CID November 2019). I’m looking to partner with a Dental School to: (1) help me develop a pocket guide for round-two of distribution of dental stewardship materials over the next month or so that summaries these treatment guidelines and literature on appropriate antibiotic use in dentistry that is not yet published in guideline format (like Patrick from fb mentioned – sinus perf when sinus infxn not present, and Dr. Kennedy’s example of abx use before and after tooth extraction. Perhaps a dental faculty member can work with me to facilitate and there might be a few dental student volunteers to co-author? and (2) I’d like to conduct a quality insurance project to survey current dental antibiotic prescribing and describe alignment (or dis-alignment) with current guideline recommendations over the next year+. My position is CDC funded to include these outpatient stewardship initiatives. I think it’d be a great CV builder and experience for D3-4 students. Please contact me at with any interests! Please note my jurisdiction is Chicago, so the dental clinics that I’m able to work with will be within City of Chicago limits.

  2. Satlajb

    Interesting discussion.
    Sometimes use of antibiotics is unnecessary!! To develop a guide for young dentists to promote judicious use of antibiotics is necessary


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