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Comments sought on guideline for antibiotic use for dental pain, swelling

January 14, 2019

By Michelle Manchir

ADA members are invited to share their expertise and insight on antibiotic use for symptomatic irreversible pulpitis, symptomatic apical periodontitis and localized acute apical abscess.

A panel of subject matter experts and methodologists from the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry is developing a clinical practice guideline on this subject. They are asking the public to review and comment on the guideline's recommendation statements, which were informed by a systematic review of the best available scientific evidence.

"There is a widespread overuse of antibiotics in general, to include dental practice, which stems in part from the lack of professional guidelines and a lack of science on the clinical situations where antibiotics are appropriate to either prevent or treat oral infections," said Dr. Peter Lockhart, chair of the panel developing the guideline and research professor in the department of oral medicine at Carolinas Medical Center.

He added that "what is critically important at this stage of guideline development is that a broad spectrum of clinicians, generalists and specialists, review this guideline's recommendation statements to ensure that they seem appropriate and understandable."

The guideline's recommendation statements are available to view online at

Members can submit comments until Feb. 11, after which the panel and ADA methodologists will review them as they further develop the guideline. The ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry plans to publish the guideline later this year with an accompanying systematic review.

For more information and to submit comments, visit or email the ADA Center for EBD at