A tooth infection or Abscess is the result of bacteria entering the pulp chamber of the tooth and causing inflammation of the pulp tissue leading to the formation of pus in the periapical area which is called an abscess. Antibiotics to get rid of tooth infection is preferred in many cases before starting the treatment to remove the source of the infection. A tooth which is infected should be treated endodontically (Root Canal) or extracted if it is at a stage where it cannot be saved with a Root canal.
There are many other causes of tooth infection which need to be addressed as well such as Impactions, Periodontal Infections, Tooth fractures, Abrasions, Attritions etc. which can also be the cause of Pain. These causes of pain cannot be healed with Antibiotics alone and need treatment, in such cases depending only on Antibiotics to treat the pain or infection is not sufficient.
In case of tooth infections or abscess, the dentist prescribes Antibiotics to decrease the concentration of the bacteria in the site of infection. There are two types of Antibiotics which are given in case of infections – Bacteriostatic (controls the growth of bacteria) and Bactericidal (kills the bacteria). It is important to first diagnose the cause of the Abscess or Tooth infection which can be due to Decay or Gingival infection.
How much time does an Antibiotic take to decrease tooth abscess or infection?
The time taken for the Antibiotic to start acting on your tooth infection depends on many factors. Will be listing out all the factors and you need to keep in mind that Antibiotics are used to decrease the bacteria population and not pain which is done by NSAID’s.
The normal or average time taken for the effect of Antibiotics on a tooth abscess or infection is “24 to 48 hours”.
- Type of Antibiotic prescribed – Bacteriostatic or Bacteriocidal (Ex. Penicillin’s)
- Bioavailability of the drug,
- Route of administration (orally or I.V or I.M), IV has the fastest action and oral the slowest.
- Type and spread of infection (local or systemic)
In case of a tooth infection with swelling the time taken for the Antibiotic to act is delayed as there will be two types of bacteria in the infection – Aerobic and Aneorobic (grows without the need for oxygen).
In some cases where there is an infection caused due to both Aerobic and Anaerobic bacteria, two types of Antibiotics are required. Along with Antibiotics, painkillers are prescribed to help in reducing the pain during the healing process. The effect of painkillers is in some cases seen for a very short duration of time due to the presence of infection, the duration of action of the painkiller is seen once the infection starts to decrease.