If you have been prescribed antibiotics by your dentist or oral surgeon for a “bad tooth”, it most likely means that you have an infection that must be addressed fairly quickly. Many people believe that by taking antibiotics, the discomfort will subside, and that they are free and clear of any further trouble with the tooth. This is not necessarily the case. Many oral infections, stemming from cracked, abscessed or deeply decayed teeth, can linger for extended durations of time. Antibiotics may help the symptoms subside a bit, but they are not curing the root of the problem.
Once you begin taking antibiotics, it is important to finish them as prescribed by your doctor. Most oral antibiotics are prescribed for a week to ten days, so once you begin taking the medication, you should follow all the post operative instructions and finish the antibiotic prescription in full. Even after you start to feel better, don’t stop taking the antibiotic just because your pain or swelling goes away. Not finishing the full dosage of the antibiotic, even leaving one or two pills, can leave your body resistant to future antibiotic treatment.
If you are prescribed antibiotics, make sure that you and your doctor have a finite plan to resolve the infection, not just a temporary fix.