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Letters: Antibiotics and emergency care

January 20, 2014

I agree with Dr. Walton's premise (Letters, Nov. 4, 2013, ADA News) that many hospital ERs are only able to provide palliative care to the patient with a toothache. I disagree with his assertion that "antibiotics are ineffective and should not be prescribed."

In my experience, antibiotics can reduce the infectious process, thereby decreasing pain and the need for narcotic analgesics until the patient can obtain the appropriate dental care. The antibiotic is not a cure for this problem but can reduce pain.

Cellulitis not requiring incision and drainage and not threatening the airway and/or requiring hospitalization can make local anesthesia ineffective and/or contraindicated.

Joseph Gunter, D.M.D.
Mobile, Ala.