How a Kids Dentist Uses Antibiotics
As a kids dentist, we have developed a system of holistic medicine to care for our patients before they ever need to be treated for anything. However, when you do have a challenge, it becomes much easier to treat these challenges. The one tool that gave every general dentist and family dentist a leg up was the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928. This discovery gave us a never-before-seen tool that allowed us to fight bacterial dental infections in a way that would actually save teeth and cure patients. As such, antibiotics became a mainstay of dental treatment.
The challenge is often not what antibiotic to prescribe but when to prescribe one at all. The medical world, which includes the general dentist and family dentist, has been rocked by a series of bacterial infections that do not respond to antibiotics. They are resistant. The overuse of antibiotics is to blame, which is why the dilemma we often face is when to treat a patient and with what level of antibiotics. For patients, there is no desire to wait. Often, when kids are in pain or have a severe infection, they just want to get rid of this challenge. For us, it is prudent to wait, explore all options, and then when the time is right, prescribe an effective antibiotics regime. Careful scientific and planned treatments are the only way to success. In the process, we often have to dispel a few myths.
As a general dentist and kids dentist, we have to tell you that antibiotics do not actually cure a patient. While this is a popular myth that is always perpetuated when you take antibiotics and then feel better within days, the truth is that it is your own body doing all the heavy lifting. The human immune system is designed to fight any kind of infection. When we include antibiotics into the mix, they serve only to boost your immune system and reestablish the balance of power between your own immune system and that of the invasive bacterial infection. We know that roughly 60 percent of infections or invasive agents that attack the body are taken care of by the immune system without any need for help. The truth is, patients cure patients, so antibiotics curing anyone is a myth.
Another common myth is the idea of a complete course of antibiotics being necessary to fight off an infection or that the infection will rebound if the complete course is not taken. As a kids’ dentist, we know the truth is that there are no specific timelines to fighting an infection. We have a great deal of experience with treating these kinds of infections and creating a very clear understanding of the timeline, but it is not an exact science. Also, dental infections don’t rebound. If the source of the infection is properly taken care of, there is no chance of it returning, which is why we look at all infections from a holistic point of view. However, as a kids dentist, our goal is to provide your child with preventative care so they do not develop an oral health problem in the first place.