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    Are dentists contributing to antibiotic overuse?

    Though unintentional, the prescribing patterns of dentists can contribute to allergic reactions and antibiotic overuse.

    My elbow is itchy. Now, it’s the back of my knees. My fingers are hot and itching in between. Oh no, not again! Maybe we can stop it early and I won’t need to go to the ER this time with anaphylaxis.

    The last time it was 35 minutes from swallowing the pill to the ER. I better grab the Benadryl and EpiPen. This is the second time in nine months. Now I have to mark off two more antibiotic categories that I can’t have; there are so few left to choose. What will happen with another infection?

    More from the author: Understanding gingival inflammation code D4346

    Unfortunately, this is a very real story for this author. My life and health are a lifetime study of antibiotic use/overuse. The “why” for each person’s allergic reactions are individual. At the same, the behavior of many contribute to the outcomes for everyone.

    Though unintentional, the prescribing patterns of dentists can contribute to these outcomes.

    Antibiotic overuse

    Last October, the question was asked, are dentists causing a deadly infection in patients? The answer is the prescribing practices of dentists are underestimated and may contribute to increasing number of Clostridium difficile infections (C.diff) cases.

    AntibioticsDentists are not often aware of complications that can result. Further, dentists are overlooked in programs that promote appropriate antibiotic use.

    C. diff is not the only result of overuse of antibiotics. How much of my current allergic/anaphylactic/asthma reactions are a result of the multiple lifetime treatment of antibiotics? 

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    A majority of the damage to my teeth occurred before the age of 16. Since that time, even as an RDH with impeccable hygiene, there has been a cycle of repair, re-repair and re-re-repair. Like many Baby Boomers, I have seven endo, one implant and more. Only my six mandibular anterior teeth have not been touched by a bur. This cycle included many antibiotic prescriptions from dentists and often given prophylactically.

    Antibiotics have saved many lives, yet they can cause dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in quality, quantity or diversity of the microbiota. The use, and overuse, of antibiotics diminishes the function of the microbiome. This has led to an increased susceptibility to immune-regulated diseases, including asthma that has led to more treatment with antibiotics. And on and on it goes.

    There is no negative intent.

    Up next: Different approaches for different outcomes...

    Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS
    Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS is a certified Health Information Technology trainer through the Office of the National Coordinator for ...

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