The pain from a toothache can range from mildly uncomfortable to seriously debilitating. If the pain is particularly severe, you’re likely to do anything to make it stop.
When bacteria reach the root of the tooth, they can cause infection, which leads to a build-up of pus. This condition is often referred to as the patient having an abscessed tooth or a periapical abscess. The latter means it is a situation relating to the tissues around the top of the root of a tooth.
Such infections do not typically go away unless they get a taste of an antibiotic like amoxicillin. In fact, they can even spread to the jaw and other areas of your head or neck.
What Is Amoxicillin?
Antibiotics are often used to treat infections caused by some types of bacteria. Amoxicillin falls under the penicillin class of antibiotics, which are very effective at stopping the growth of bacteria.
Amoxicillin is a tablet that mainly comes in three forms—immediate release, extended-release, and chewable tablets—and must be consumed orally. The immediate release and chewable tablets are also available as generic drugs. The extended-release tablet is available as Moxatag.
Amoxicillin is also available as a capsule and a suspension, but these too are consumed orally.
This particular antibiotic is also used in combination with other medicines to treat stomach or intestinal ulcers that are caused by bacteria. Amoxicillin is typically prescribed to be taken every 8 to 12 hours with or without food as directed by a physician.
You must remember to drink a lot of fluids while on amoxicillin unless you are told not to do so. And, as is the case with every other antibiotic, you must finish the course even if the symptoms disappear right away. Otherwise, the infection might return.
How Can Amoxicillin Treat Toothache?
In cases such as toothache, an antibiotic is typically prescribed to contain the bacterial infection. Before we talk about how long it takes amoxicillin to work on a toothache, let’s look at the possible damage scenarios.
If it is a simple abscess, the dentist can choose to do a root canal and completely eliminate the infection, which will likely save the tooth. But if the infection is severe, the dentist or a specialist might drain it first before performing the root canal. This is done by making a small cut in the gums to let the pus out. The infected area is then rinsed with saline.
In some cases, the dentist might even have to insert a little rubber drain to keep the infected part open and keep the pus draining till the swelling is gone. The tooth is then sealed back, and a cap or a crown might be placed to protect the tooth from another abscess. If the tooth cannot be saved, it might have to be pulled, and then the abscess is drained.
Meanwhile, antibiotics like amoxicillin are given so the infection does not spread to other teeth or parts of the body. Apart from amoxicillin, antibiotics like azithromycin, cefoxitin, metronidazole and penicillin are prescribed for the same reason.
How Long Does Amoxicillin Take to Work on a Tooth Infection?
Now to the actual question of how long does it take amoxicillin to work on a toothache.
The dosage is usually determined based on the severity of the infection. In that case, amoxicillin might be prescribed along with clavulanic acid. The combination helps in eliminating stubborn bacteria.
500 milligrams of amoxicillin is prescribed as a standalone and needs to be taken every eight hours. But if the situation is not simple, the dentist might prescribe 1,000 milligrams which will be taken every 12 hours.
If amoxicillin is prescribed along with clavulanic acid, the dosage can be anywhere between 500 and 2,000 milligrams every 8 or 12 hours.
Sometimes, it might take longer to work for various reasons. The bacteria may be more stubborn or resistant to these drugs. If you have had an allergic reaction to these drugs in the past, you must tell the doctor beforehand. For a majority of acute infections, these antibiotics work in three to seven days. But as mentioned before, you must finish the course whether or not you are still in pain.
Good dental habits are a great way to prevent tooth issues. But antibiotics like amoxicillin have become the first line of defence when it comes to eliminating infections.