Health Updates

What Are the Factors Making Dentists Prescribe Antibiotics Inappropriately?

A recent study has discovered that general dental practitioners or GDP who are less trained and less confident in administering local anesthesia are more likely to inappropriately prescribe antibiotics or Abs not in accordance to the guidelines.

Photo: Dental Patient and Dentist | InStyleHealth

Researchers assessed the prescribing patterns of 198 UK-based GDPs, by using an online questionnaire circulated via social media. The questionnaire presented two hypothetical clinical scenarios: a patient with severe pulpitis and another with acute apical periodontitis. Neither scenario required antibiotics.

Respondents were asked how long a treatment would take, how likely they would give an antibiotics prescription, and what their chances are of successfully providing local anesthesia.

There were 7 or 4% respondents said that they would be “highly likely” or “certain” to prescribe antibiotics. For acute apical periodontitis, 37 general dental practitioners or 18% responded similarly by prescribing antibiotics.

Using a chi-squared testing, it found out four factors that associated with the likelihood of prescribing antibiotics inappropriately. For example, there were significantly more general dental practitioners who were educated in a non-UK university who said that they were either highly likely or certain to prescribe antibiotics, even though neither hypothetical scenario called for it.

Also, such inappropriate prescription patterns were significantly more common in general dental practitioners who had low or no confidence that they could successfully provide local anesthesia and those who lacked postgraduate qualifications.

Particularly, general dental practitioners who said that they would need <20 minutes of appointment time were also more likely to inappropriately prescribe antibiotics.


Source: Br Dent J2021;doi:10.1038/s41415-021-3008-x
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