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Use of antibiotics to treat dental pain

Use of antibiotics to treat dental pain

Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is marked from 18-24 November every year and presents an opportunity for reflection on what we can all do to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

Overuse of antibiotics has led to the emergence of bacterial strains that are resistant to multiple groups of antibiotics. Infections with such bacteria can be fatal. Just seventy years after the introduction of antibiotics we are facing the possibility of a future without them being effective which could result in ten million deaths every year, globally, by 2050.

Healthcare professionals, and dentists in particular, will be crucial to preventing further increases in these statistics by ensuring they play their part to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use. Between 2016 and 2020, primary care NHS dentists in England prescribed 10.3% of all antimicrobial prescription items in the whole of NHS primary care.

The BES has partnered with the University of Central Lancashire and sponsored a video that raises awareness of when antibiotics are not required to treat dental pain.

The idea behind the video is to mitigate patients’ expectations by explaining some of the ways in which dental pain should be treated. It offers viable alternatives to antibiotics and outlines the appropriate courses of action in different situations. The overarching message is that most causes of dental pain should not be treated with antibiotics.

Dr Phil Tomson, Hon Secretary of the BES, explains: “the video is just one and a half minutes long and simple to follow.  Its style makes it patient and family-friendly and we are very keen for it to be shared with patients and within the dental and health communities so the message reaches as many people as possible.”

The video was produced by Drs Shalini Kanagasingam (UClan), Nargis Sonde (UClan), Phil Tomson (BES).

Further information can be found at:

The video was produced by Drs Shalini Kanagasingam (UClan), Nargis Sonde (UClan), Phil Tomson (BES).

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