DENTISTS should only consider using antibiotics when unable to achieve drainage of an acute dental infection, urges the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK).
This plea is part of a campaign by the FGDP to highlight the need for practitioners to act responsibly to help slow the global development of antibiotic resistance.
Last month the Faculty collaborated with the Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists (ACOM) and the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy on a social media initiative via Thunderclap asking supporters to pledge that "where a dental infection needs drainage, this is provided before considering the use of antibiotics".
Dr Nikolaus Palmer, FGDP(UK) board member and editor of Antimicrobial Prescribing for General Dental Practitioners, says: "The FGDP(UK)’s evidence-based guidance sets out sensible protocols for dental practitioners when considering the need to prescribe antimicrobials. Those that follow this guidance will already be aware that the majority of uncomplicated dental swellings can be successfully treated by removal of the source of the infection by drainage of the associated abscess.
"It is vital that dental practitioners recognise their role in helping to reduce the development of antimicrobial resistance."
Antimicrobial resistance has become a worldwide problem over the last few decades and now constitutes a major threat to public health. Dentists working in the NHS in England prescribe nearly 10 per cent of all oral antimicrobials in the primary care setting, and all antibiotics prescribed in dentistry can have an adverse effect on the rest of the body’s microbial flora.