PDF: Comparison of antimicrobial prescribing for dental and oral infections in England and Scotland with Norway and Sweden


Prescribing in dental practice has a relatively small but important contribution to the quantity of antibiotics prescribed in primary care.


Dentists prescribe antibiotics to treat acute bacterial intra-oral infections and some cases of chronic periodontitis.


The majority of acute dentoalveolar infections should be managed primarily by surgical or local measures to control the source of infection (extraction, root canal therapy or incision and drainage) with professional guidelines re-enforcing this basic tenet of infection source control in dental practice. 

However, there is evidence that there has been both inappropriate qualitative and quantitative prescribing for dental infections.


The trend of antibiotic prescriptions over time is influenced by many factors, such as disease levels, access to dental services, prescribing guidelines, patients’ attitude toward antibiotic prescribing, and incidence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). 

The objective of this study was to compare the national use of antibiotics by dental prescribers in England and Scotland with Norway and Sweden. 

Report their relative contribution to the total national antibiotic consumption by outpatients, and review differences in prescribing patterns to ascertain whether lessons can be used to inform antimicrobial stewardships policies in the four countries. 



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