Antibiotic therapy and dentistry: Common oral infections and the appropriate antibiotic pharmacology

Dental professionals must consider the patient’s immediate health to clear an acute infection and the long-term ramifications of the human microbiome’s health with dental antibiotic therapy. (3 CE Credits)

Antibiotic therapy is not a substitute for dental or surgical intervention. Infected wisdom teeth, periodontal pockets greater than 5 mm, and diseased dental pulp tissue require mechanical intervention to restore a patient’s health and homeostasis.1 When a patient presents with a bacterial infection, the dentist will prescribe an antibiotic to kill the offending bacteria (bactericidal) or suppress the bacterial metabolic activity and growth (bacteriostatic), thereby allowing the immune system to clear the infection.2 Antibiotic therapy is frequently necessary as an adjunct to mechanical dental therapy and is rarely utilized as a stand-alone treatment.3 Antibiotics have specific pharmacologic effects on bacterial metabolism but, in most cases, will not directly interact with human physiology.4 There are some notable exceptions, such as the tetracycline class of antibiotics, whereby the inherent anti-inflammatory properties of the molecules are also desired and utilized. Antibiotics, however, are not without adverse effects on human physiology. Most of these effects occur through damage and destruction to the human microbiome, the bacterial multispecies symbiont present in every human being.5 A healthy microbiome is necessary for human metabolic homeostasis in areas as diverse as the immune system, digestion, neurotransmitter production and utilization, and control of inflammation.6-8 These issues fall well beyond the customarily understood antibiotic side effects of diarrhea, an upset stomach, and nausea. Dental professionals must consider the patient’s immediate health to clear an acute infection and the long-term ramifications of the human microbiome’s health with dental antibiotic therapy.9

Educational objectives

1. List and describe the common antibiotics utilized in dentistry

2. Discuss the role of antibiotics in dental infectious disease

3. Describe the safety, dosages, and contraindications for antibiotic use in dentistry

4. Outline how the information in this course can be used to improve patient care outcomes

About the Author

Eric Bornstein, DMD, is the former CMO of Nomir Medical Technologies, a biochemist, dentist, and photobiologist. He has managed a periodontal human clinical trial and has patented lasers and biofilm eradication technologies. Dr. Bornstein is widely published in journals such as Current Trends in Microbiology and Compendium. He delivers CE webinars for the Institute for Natural Resources ( on pharmacology, marijuana, vaping, opioids, hallucinogens, and periodontal disease. His first novel, Sun Tzu’s Café, will be published in December 2023.

Quick Access Code: 22219
Image Credit: 120405867 © Artinun Prekmoung |

Not Enrolled

Course Includes

  • 1 Lesson
  • 1 Test
  • Course Certificate
  • CE credit(s): 3

    Course Type: Written

    Published Date: November 2023

    This continuing education (CE) activity was developed by Endeavor Business Media with no commercial support.

    This course was written for dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants, from novice to skilled.

    Educational methods: This course is a self-instructional journal and web activity.

    Provider disclosure: Endeavor Business Media neither has a leadership position nor a commercial interest in any products or services discussed or shared in this educational activity. No manufacturer or third party had any input in the development of the course content.

    Requirements for successful completion: To obtain 3 CE credits for this educational activity, you must pay the required fee, review the material, complete the course evaluation, and obtain an exam score of 70% or higher.

    CE planner disclosure: Laura Winfield, Endeavor Business Media dental group CE coordinator, neither has a leadership nor commercial interest with the products or services discussed in this educational activity. Ms. Winfield can be reached at

    Educational disclaimer: Completing a single continuing education course does not provide enough information to result in the participant being an expert in the field related to the course topic. It is a combination of many educational courses and clinical experience that allows the participant to develop skills and expertise.

    Image authenticity statement: The images in this educational activity have not been altered.

    Scientific integrity statement: Information shared in this CE course is developed from clinical research and represents the most current information available from evidence-based dentistry.

    Known benefits and limitations of the data: The information presented in this educational activity is derived from the data and information contained in the reference section.

    Registration: The cost of this CE course is $39.00 for 3 CE credits.

    Cancellation and refund policy: Any participant who is not 100% satisfied with this course can request a full refund by contacting Endeavor Business Media in writing.

    Provider information:

    Dental Board of California: Provider RP5933. Course registration number CA code: 03-5933-22219. Expires October 2026 . “This course meets the Dental Board of California’s requirements for 3 units of continuing education.”


    Endeavor Business Media is a nationally approved PACE program provider for FAGD/MAGD credit.
    Approval does not imply acceptance by any regulatory authority or AGD endorsement.
    11/1/2022 to 10/31/2024.
    Provider ID# 320452
    AGD code: 010, 130


    Endeavor Business Media is designated as an approved Provider by the American Academy of Dental Hygiene, Inc. #AADHPNW (January 1, 2022–December 31, 2024). Approval does not imply acceptance by a state or provincial Board of Dentistry. Licensee should maintain this document in the event of an audit. AADH code: AADHEBM-188-10-2024-3


    Endeavor Business Media is an ADA CERP–recognized provider.

    ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of dental continuing education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.

    Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to CERP at



CE Courses + Conference Discounts