New ADA Guideline Advises Against Using Antibiotics to Manage Dental Pain & Swelling

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The ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry (CEBD) has developed a new guideline on antibiotic use for the urgent management of pulpal- and periapical-related dental pain and intraoral swelling.

In most cases, antibiotics are not recommended to manage dental pain and intraoral swelling associated with pulpal and periapical infections in adult patients with normal immune response. Dental treatments (such as pulpectomy, root canal therapy, incision and drainage, etc.) should be prioritized and, if needed, recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Antibiotics may be recommended if a patient’s condition progresses, showing signs or symptoms of systemic involvement such as fever or malaise.

The guideline appears in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association and was created by an expert panel organized by the CEBD and the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. The panel conducted a systematic review of the literature and formulated recommendations based on the best available evidence.

It is strongly advised that all dentists review this new guideline in full and form appropriate office protocols for the prescribing of antibiotics in their dental setting. For more information, including links to two helpful chairside guides, navigate to: