Dentists urged to resist pressure to overprescribe antibiotics

A JOINT letter from UK dental organisations is urging dentists to follow guidance on appropriate antibiotic prescribing, even with changes in standard operating procedures to reduce face-to-face contact.

The letter states: "We recognise the difficulties for the dental profession in managing patients when there is sustained transmission of COVID-19 and the suspension of routine dental care.

"The current Standard Operating Procedure describes the need to reduce the numbers of patients who are seen face to face. The advice for dentists is to remotely triage patients where possible with Advice, Analgesics and Antibiotics where appropriate.

"We recognise the challenges which this presents for clinicians in terms of assessment, diagnosis and management, and the effect which this can have on patient care."

Dentists are being urged to ensure appropriate antibiotic prescribing, including choice, dose and duration as recommended in FGDP(UK) or SDCEP guidance.

Susie Sanderson, leader of the task force on antibiotics in dentistry for the Council of European Dentists, has commented: "This pandemic has demonstrated the havoc a pathogen can unleash when we have no protection against it. Inappropriate use of antibiotics at this time, even if motivated by the best of intentions, increases the likelihood that resistant bacteria will evolve. I'm sure you'll agree, that with a global viral pandemic underway, the last thing we need is to add to these risks."

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