How to prevent infection after dental work

Once a tooth has been extracted, bacteria will still be alive in the mouth, even more so with those who have bad oral hygiene. Infections are very common following extractions. Depending on how bad the tooth was that the dentist removed, he may prescribe you some antibiotics to take that will greatly reduce your risk of getting an infection. In some cases though, even antibiotics can’t prevent an infection.

If you go to the dentist before the extraction experienced swelling of the face, swollen gums, pain in your teeth under light pressure, or bleeding around the extraction site, then you may already have an infection. If you indeed have an infection before you get the tooth treated, the dentist will prescribe you antibiotics to use following treatment. If you have a really bad abscess, you’ll need to use antibiotics to treat the infection before the dentist will remove the tooth.

In some cases, people develop an infection after the extraction, even though they may not have been infected beforehand. The reason for this, is bacteria. Following an extraction, bacteria will be more alive in the mouth than ever before. With the extraction site being exposed, the bacteria will be able to get into the site. This can lead to an infection due to the site being exposed and the fact that you are unable to use mouthwash or brush during the first 24 – 48 hours. Not being able to sterilize your mouth means that you are unable to kills the germs responsible for bacteria.

After extractions, the first sign of infection is renewed bleeding. This normally occurs around 48 hours after the extraction. Even though it normally isn’t severe, you should still call your dentist and make an appointment to be seen. Your dentist will be able to stop the bleeding and give you some antibiotics and other prescriptions that will fix the problem.

Some dentists prefer to give patients antibiotics before they will do any type of extraction. Although you may not have an abscess, most dentists prefer to get rid of the infection before they start doing their work. They do this because they know the local anesthesia won’t work all that good with infections, and it may take them a lot of work and a lot of medicine to numb the area that you have the infection in.

In the event that the tooth has to be removed and the dentist simply cannot wait a few days, it is possible to get you numbed. Although it will take quite a bit of medicine to numb the area, it can be done. Sometimes, dentists will choose to use an IV sedation or laughing gas, in the event that local numbing doesn’t help. An IV sedation will normally put you to sleep or knock you out, so that the dentist can remove the tooth that is causing you so much trouble.

Even though infections can cause a lot of pain and need to be dealt with immediately, you may not have to take antibiotics once the dentist has extracted the tooth. If your mouth is clean and you don’t have a lot of germs, you can normally heal the would by taking care of it. Rinsing your mouth out with salt water for the first few days will keep the extraction site clean. As long as you take care of the extraction site and do what your dentist tells you, you shouldn’t have any further problems with the extraction site or the infection.

How to prevent infection after dental workWhen was the last time you visited your dentist or dental hygienist? If you’re one of the many people who avoids seeing a dentist unless you have a toothache, you may not realize your oral and dental health can have a significant impact on your overall health. In fact, an infection in your mouth can trigger sepsis, just as an infection in any other part of your body can.

Infections in your mouth can occur in a tooth through an undetected cavity or crack, or through cuts in your gums, cheek, or tongue. Infections can also develop after dental work, because bleeding may occur during the procedure, leaving an opening for bacteria to enter.

Sometimes incorrectly called blood poisoning, sepsis is the body’s often deadly response to infection, including dental infections. Worldwide, one-third of people who develop sepsis die. Many who do survive are left with life-changing effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain and fatigue, organ dysfunction, and/or amputations.

World Oral Health Day is marked every year on March 20, organized by the World Dental Federation to help raise global awareness of oral health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), one-third of Americans do not see a dentist regularly. This is for a variety of reasons, ranging from not understanding the importance of regular dental care to social issues such as having limited finances (having to choose between basic needs and dental care) or limited mobility, making it difficult to reach a dental office.

Regular oral care should start early though. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that babies have their first check-up when their first tooth appears, and before their first birthday. This care should continue right through to the end of life, even for people who no longer have teeth. This is because dentists don’t just examine and repair teeth, they examine and diagnose problems in your entire mouth, such as oral cancer, blocked salivary glands, and any abnormalities that may appear.

It is true that dental care can be expensive, but preventative care with regular in-office cleaning and check-ups can not only prevent cavities, it can help detect problems in your mouth in the earlier stages, when they are usually easier – and less expensive – to treat. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a webpage with resources to help people find low-cost dental care, if needed.

To learn more about oral health and sepsis, including the signs and symptoms of an infection in your mouth, visit Sepsis and Dental Health in the Sepsis and… section of the site. To find stories about people who have had sepsis following a dental infection, visit And if you have a story to share, please click on the Send Us Your Story link on the Faces of Sepsis page.

(Interesting fact: Dr. Carl Flatley, founder of Sepsis Alliance, is a retired endodontist!)

In this Article

  • How Have Endocarditis Prevention Guidelines Changed?
  • Who Should Receive Antibiotics Before Having a Dental Treatment?
  • What Dental Procedures Are Antibiotics Recommended For?
  • Is There Anything Else I Can Do to Lower My Risk for Bacterial Endocarditis?
  • What Are the Symptoms of Endocarditis?

Endocarditis is a rare, life-threatening inflammation of the lining of the heart muscle and its valves. It is caused by a bacterial infection. Although it can occur in anyone, it is much more common in people with certain heart conditions and in those who’ve had it before. If your risk is high, you can take steps to lower it.

How Have Endocarditis Prevention Guidelines Changed?

In 2007, the American Heart Association Endocarditis Committee — together with other experts — issued guidelines to help prevent endocarditis. These replaced guidelines issued in 1997. After reviewing published studies, the committee found that only a small number of cases of infective endocarditis might be prevented by antibiotics for dental procedures. In patients with heart conditions associated with the highest risk of serious complications from endocarditis, it says that antibiotic treatment before dental procedures involving manipulation of the gums seems reasonable.

In very rare cases, bacteria in the mouth may trigger endocarditis in people at higher risk. Here’s what happens: Bacteria found in tooth plaque may multiply and cause gingivitis (gum disease). If not treated, this may become advanced. The gums become inflamed (red and swollen) and often bleed during tooth brushing, flossing, or certain dental procedures involving manipulation of the gums. When gums bleed, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and can infect other parts of the body. In the case of endocarditis, this affects the inner lining of the heart and the surfaces of its valves. The bacteria stick to these surfaces and create growths or pockets of bacteria.

Because this is so rare, the new guidelines suggest antibiotics prior to dental procedures only for patients who are at highest risk for serious complications from endocarditis. In fact, in most cases, the risk of problems from antibiotics exceeds the benefits from preventive antibiotics. These attract blood products that may lead to clots.

Who Should Receive Antibiotics Before Having a Dental Treatment?

To prevent endocarditis, patients with certain heart conditions receive a single dose of an antibiotic. You receive it about one hour prior to certain dental treatments.

The American Heart Association and American Dental Association now suggest that you receive antibiotics prior to dental treatment only if you have:


  • Had bacterial endocarditis before
  • A prosthetic (artificial) cardiac valve or prosthetic material used in valve repair
  • Cardiac valve disease and have had a cardiac transplant
  • Congenital (present at birth) heart disease. This includes only people with the following: В
    • Unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease (including those with devices that relieve symptoms only)
    • Completely repaired congenital heart defect with prosthetic material or device during the first six months after the procedure
    • Repaired congenital heart disease with defects that remain at or near the site of a prosthetic patch or prosthetic device

What Dental Procedures Are Antibiotics Recommended For?

The new guidelines suggest preventive treatment for all patients with cardiac conditions listed above, but not for all dental procedures.

The guidelines suggest treatment only:

  • During dental procedures that involve manipulation of gingival tissue (around bone and teeth) or the periapical region of teeth (tip of the tooth root)
  • When the inside lining of the mouth is perforated

The guidelines do not recommend antibiotics for these dental procedures or events:

  • Routine anesthetic injections through noninfected tissue
  • Dental X-rays
  • Placement of removable prosthodontic or orthodontic appliances
  • Adjustment of orthodontic appliances
  • Placement of orthodontic brackets
  • Shedding of baby teeth
  • Bleeding from trauma to the lips or inside of the mouth

Is There Anything Else I Can Do to Lower My Risk for Bacterial Endocarditis?

  • Tell your dentist if your health has changed since your last visit. Be sure to let your dentist know if you’ve had heart or vascular surgery within the past six months. Also report if you have been diagnosed with other heart conditions.
  • Make sure your dentist has a complete list of the names and dosages of your medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Make sure your dentist has the names and phone numbers of all of your doctors. Your dentist may want to consult with your doctor about your dental care plan and medication choices.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day; floss at least once daily; rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day. Good oral and dental health is very important for patients at risk for endocarditis.


What Are the Symptoms of Endocarditis?

Possible symptoms of endocarditis include:


  • Unexplained fever
  • Night chills
  • Weakness, muscle pain, or joint pain
  • Sluggishness (lethargy) or malaise (general ill feeling)


Keep in mind that receiving antibiotics greatly lowers the risk of endocarditis. However, it is not a guarantee. Also keep in mind that most cases of procedure-related endocarditis occur within two weeks of the procedure. So if you have any of these symptoms beyond this time, it is not very likely that you have endocarditis. It is always wise to check with your doctor or dentist if you have any concerns.


Committee on Rheumatic Fever, Endocarditis, and Kawasaki Disease, Prevention of Infective Endocarditis: “Guidelines From the American Heart Association.”В

Infections can develop anywhere in your mouth – in the gums (periodontal), lips, palate, cheeks, and tongue, or within and below teeth (endodontic). Paying attention to dental health is important in preventing dental infections. A dental infection within or below a tooth can be caused by tooth decay or a broken tooth that causes the pulp to become infected. The pulp is the part of the tooth that contains blood vessels, connective tissue, and large nerves. When an infection occurs, bacteria can move out of the tooth to the bone or tissue below, forming a dental abscess. A dental infection can lead to sepsis.

Sometimes incorrectly called blood poisoning, sepsis is the body’s often deadly response to infection. Sepsis kills and disables millions and requires early suspicion and treatment for survival.

Sepsis and septic shock can result from an infection anywhere in the body, such as pneumonia, influenza, or urinary tract infections. Worldwide, one-third of people who develop sepsis die. Many who do survive are left with life-changing effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain fatigue, organ dysfunction (organs don’t work properly), and/or amputations.

How to prevent infection after dental work

Signs of an infection in the mouth include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
  • Swelling of the gum
  • Swollen glands of the neck
  • Swelling in the jaw

As with all infections, an infection in your mouth should be treated as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of complications, including sepsis. Salt water mouth rinses while waiting to see your dentist may ease the pain or discomfort. You might also ask your dentist’s office what you could do before your appointment.

If your dentist feels you have an infection, you will probably be given a prescription for an antibiotic. It’s important that you take this antibiotic as directed until it is finished, even if the pain and swelling seem to have gone away. Feeling better does not necessarily mean that the infection has gone away.

Also, ask your dentist if the infection should be drained. If it is possible, draining can speed up the reduction of pain and swelling. Your dentist may refer you to an endodontist or periodontist if your case is more complicated.

Preventing dental infections with good dental health

Preventing infections from occurring in your mouth will help you reduce your risk of developing sepsis. Regular twice-a-year visits are usually recommended for up-to-date x-rays, exams, and dental cleanings.

Good oral hygiene is the first basic step in promoting good dental health and preventing infections. These habits should be taught to children from early on to help them keep healthy mouths and teeth.

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Don’t over brush – brushing too hard or with too hard a brush can damage your teeth. Ask your dental hygienist for the best way for you to brush your teeth.
  • Don’t use your teeth to open packaging, break string, etc. Your teeth are strong, but they are meant for chewing food, not hard objects, which can cause teeth to crack, chip, or break.
  • Visit your dental office at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and check up.
  • If you have had dental work, watch for any signs of infection and contact your dentist if you experience any of the signs listed above.

Infection after dental work

Dental work, from cleaning to root canals, may cause bleeding and an opening where bacteria can enter the body. While dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants work to keep everything as clean as possible as they do their work, sometimes infections do develop, just as sometimes they do after surgery on another part of the body.

The American Dental Association recommends that certain people receive prophylactic or preventative antibiotics before they have dental work done. These are people who have certain heart conditions that could make them more prone to developing a condition called infective endocarditis. As well, it may be recommended that some people with artificial joints (like a knee or hip) take prophylactic antibiotics before dental work. If you have an artificial joint, speak with your doctor before you need dental work to see if this is recommended for you.

Here are some of the most common dental procedures.

Tooth extractions

Dentists try to avoid pulling teeth (tooth extractions), but sometimes it is the only option. Endodontic (root canal) procedures are preferable to extraction when possible.

Some reasons for to have a tooth extracted are:

  • Too much damage to the pulp (within the tooth) from infection or decay.
  • Infection that has not been cured with antibiotics.
  • Gum disease that results in loose teeth that can’t be stabilized.
  • Crowded mouth, before orthodontics (braces).
  • Teeth that cannot be restored with a dental crown or restoration.

Tooth fillings

Another part of good dental health is getting dental repairs as quickly as possible. Tooth fillings are done when a cavity or hole in the tooth needs to be fixed. After cleaning out debris and dirt, the dentist inserts the filling material, which will then protect the tooth.

If you have an infection or have had a root canal, the dentist may put in a temporary filling. A temporary filling protects the pulp from bacteria reaching it and usually helps relieve any pain that you may be feeling. Temporary fillings must be replaced with permanent fillings as they are not made to last.

Root canals

If your tooth is badly decayed or infected, your dentist may suggest that you have a root canal done before going to the more drastic step of extracting (pulling) the tooth.

When a root canal is done, the nerve and the pulp are removed from inside of the tooth. That inner space is then replaced with a sterile inert (chemically inactive) material.

If you suspect sepsis, call 9-1-1 or go to a hospital and tell your medical professional, “I AM CONCERNED ABOUT SEPSIS.”

The information here is also available as a Sepsis Information Guide, which is a downloadable format for easier printing.

Would you like to share your story about sepsis or read about others who have had sepsis? Please visit Faces of Sepsis, where you will find hundreds of stories from survivors and tributes to those who died from sepsis.


Junior member

Hello – I’d really like an opinion about my current situation.

I am a sort of dental phobic in that I never had any problems until 6 years ago just after my son was born. I developed a really severe infection under one of my back teeth when my son was four weeks old. I went to a dentist who said the tooth needed to be extracted but who struggled to numb the area. It was all very traumatic but I realize the difficulty in anesthetizing the area was due to the infection.

Fast forward 6 or so years and I finally pluck up the courage to visit a dentist again. The dentist I saw was lovely and explained all my options for treatment – and I needed a lot of treatment as my teeth had really deteriorated. To be honest my goal is just to be able to smile without feeling self conscious.

Last Thursday I went and had three extractions – these were really just roots and three fillings including one root canal filling. My biggest fear was pain but once the local anesthetic was in it was all pain free.

However, since the work I have developed a big infection. As I had received so much work I expected there to be some residual discomfort and put all the pain I experienced down to that. On Sunday morning I woke up looking like a hamster and in severe pain. I contacted NHS Direct and one of their dental advisors referred me to an out of hours dental service who saw me. The dentist I saw there was very critical of my dentist for doing so much work in one go. He then went on to say that she should have given me antibiotic cover and he could not believe she hadn’t done so. . His opinion was that the infection was not coming from any of the extraction sites which were all upper jaw but from the root canal filling in my lower jaw.

Now – I am a health care professional too and although i am not a dental HCP I do recognize that there will always be differences in opinion with regard to any treatment. But – this has now left me worrying about things. My dentist took lots of X-Rays and one of the things she told me was there was a small infection under the tooth which needed the root canal filling. It also appeared that this was the tooth which caused the big infection after treatment. Yesterday the gum began to ooze blood and yukky stuff utterly, utterly disgusting and horrible but it showed me and my dentist that the infection was actually under the tooth next door to the root canal one.

I am now on Amoxycillin five hundred mgs tds and two fifty mg of Metronidazole tds – excuse words instead of numbers but number keys are not working .
I am much less hamster like now and in minimal pain which I assume means the infection is beginning to clear.

I suppose my questions are:

Was all this treatment too much in one go? I have been very phobic about going back so in many ways was glad my dentist got all the big stuff out of the way. I am going back for some private cosmetic work and also a private denture for the upper back teeth. I feel hugely relieved the other stuff is out of the way but am wondering if it was all too much in one sitting.

Should I have been given antibiotics? I am wondering what the consensus is on antibiotics following treatment now. I have often been given antibiotics following dental work in the past – usually following an extraction. My dentist didn’t suggest them at all after all this work and to be honest I just assumed that things had changed – that perhaps research had shown they were not necessary in most cases.

Thank you for reading. I am off sick but thanks to the antibiotics and especially the Metronidazole cannot indulge in any

I have to see my dentist again on Friday – she has said that if the tooth looks too complicated to treat she will extract it and add it to the denture. I really, really do not want her to do this though as I work with the public and am already self conscious about my teeth – sporting a huge great gap is NOT tempting.

How to prevent infection after dental work

Does dental implant infection really happen? How often does it occur for dental implant cases? It is a common occurrence? This article will talk about infections that happen because of dental implant procedures, important facts about this type of infection and how to treat it. After reading the article, you can read at about the risks of getting dental implants.

What are dental implants used for?

Dental implants are used to fill in the gaps between teeth. Missing teeth can make people feel very self-conscious and may also give them confidence issues. Dental implants are a good solution for people who have self-esteem issues because of missing teeth. However, on top of the aesthetic appeal they provide, they also contribute to overall oral health. Since dental implants are put directly into the jawbone, they take the place of the missing tooth in all possible ways. They can provide the needed pressure that should be placed on the jawbone when a person bites to prevent bone loss (and further tooth loss in the long run).

Dental implant failure

Although rare, cases of dental implant failure sometimes happens. The main cause of dental implant failure is dental implant infection, which is also known as peri-implantitis. If there is no dental implant infection present, the chances of having dental implant failure is low.How to prevent infection after dental work

Most of the time, people who get dental implants will not get dental implant failure. if a person follows the instructions that the dental specialist gives, infection will most likely not happen. There are specific ways by which a person can make sure that their implants stay free from infection. As long as people follow these instructions to the letter, they will not have dental implant failure. One should also note that the sterilization of the clinic and dental instruments is also a factor of infection during a surgery.

Even if some infection does develop on the dental implants, if the person goes to see a dentist right away, there is a big chance that the implants may still be saved because of the quick intervention. However, in any case, if you feel any pain in your dental implants, or if the pain you feel does not subside after a few days or gets worse as time passes, talk to your dentist as this pain may be a sign of infection in your dental implants. Your dentist will be able to treat the infection, get rid of the pain you are experiencing and save your dental implants if you report the pain as soon as you notice it.

Dental implant infection

Dental implant infection may happen if the area where the newly placed implant is not properly cleaned. Although a person should not brush their implant right away to reduce the risk of disturbing the initial healing process of the implant and to allow it so set on the jawbone, after the bone has healed, keeping your oral hygiene habits is a good way to keep bacterial infections at bay.

Since dental implants will be topped off with a dental crown, nobody will be the wiser that a person has had dental implants put in. The dental implants will take the place of missing teeth in all possible ways. When these implants fully heal and are fully incorporated into the jawbone, they can also be cleaned like any other regular teeth.

How to reduce the risk of dental implant infection

There are specific ways by which people can avoid getting implant infections. Along with following the proper way to clean and take care of your dental implants after the initial surgery to place them into the jawbone, here is a list of things to remember to ensure that your dental implants stay clean and bacteria-free.

  • Avoid smoking

It is a well-known fact that smoking is detrimental to overall health. However, when it comes to oral health, it can also play a role in causing dental implant failure and dental implant infection. If you are a smoker, it is wise to avoid smoking as the dental implant heals. If you are unable to stop smoking for that long, it is best to hold off at least for the first few days up to the first week following the surgery. This will allow the healing process to take place without risking an infection from the smoke.

  • Switch to a soft diet

The type of diet and the food you can consume will usually be included in the after-surgery instructions your dentist will provide. Switching to a soft diet will ensure that you will not be eating anything that will put your new dental implant at risk for infection. Food that is hard will produce crumbs and small particles that may get stuck in the area of the new dental implant. These small particles may make it much harder for you to make sure that the area remains clean throughout the recovery period. A soft diet will be much better because the healing process will not be disrupted.

  • Proper dental hygiene habits

How to prevent infection after dental workAs the dental implant heals, it is important to practice good oral hygiene habits to promote better and much faster healing. At first, it is recommended not to brush the area, but you can use a salt water rinse to ensure that all food particles and bacteria that may potentially cause infection will be cleared away from the implant area. When the dental implant will be healed, and the dental crown will be placed on top of the metal post to complete the overall look of the implant, you will be able to brush and floss as you would your regular teeth. Making sure that your dental implant always remains clean will give you peace of mind that you will reduce the risk of getting a failed implant and dental implant infections.

Final thoughts

While the risk of developing an infection on your dental implant is fairly low, it is a good idea to follow the advice above on top of heeding the advice given by your dentist for after-surgery care.

If you have any questions about the instructions that your dentist will give you after the procedure, it is a good idea to talk to them about these questions before you go home. These instructions should be followed to ensure that your dental implants stay clean and infection-free. Also, always get the implant surgery at a trusted dental practitioner.

Keep in mind that dental implant infections are rare, but they do sometimes happen. It is much better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to your dental implants. If you are able to get past the healing process without having a dental implant infection or implant failure, you will be able to benefit from your dental implants for years to come.

How to prevent infection after dental work

An infection after a tooth extraction is treated using antibiotics, according to WebMD. While a tooth is typically extracted to prevent the spread of infection from a dead tooth, in some people, especially those with weakened immune systems, an infection results after the extraction. Patients can lessen chances of infection by following all aftercare recommendations from a dentist or oral surgeon and by seeking treatment promptly when an infection occurs.

If infection is suspected, a dentist or oral surgeon evaluates the situation and provides a prescription for the appropriate antibiotic to fight the infection, according to WebMD. Some people with compromised immune systems must take antibiotics both before and after a tooth extraction to prevent infection.

Patients must avoid smoking and tobacco for several days after a tooth extraction to prevent loosening of the blood clot in the socket of the extracted tooth, according to WebMD. Smoking also lowers the body’s ability to fight infection, making it an important substance to avoid. The blood clot that forms in the socket of an extracted tooth is instrumental in providing a barrier to bacteria entering the gums and bloodstream. The sucking motion used during smoking loosens the blood clot and puts a patient at greater risk of infection.

Dental crowns are caps that are placed over a tooth in order to restore its shape, size, and strength. By getting a dental crown, you can improve the appearance of your smile and increase your confidence.

If you take good care of your teeth and crown, your crown will last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. While this is great, it’s important to understand that dental crowns, just like regular teeth, are prone to infections. Let’s take a closer look at how an infected dental crown occurs.

An infected dental crown means that the crowned tooth is infected and there is a great amount of pus that has already formed. When a dental crown is infected, the crowned tooth may extrude slightly out of its socket and its original position. This causes the infected tooth to rise higher than the teeth that surround it. If you experience an infection after getting a dental crown, you will likely notice a painful sensation every time you bite down.

If your dental crown is infected, you may also experience some swelling in the tissues that surround the impacted teeth. Since failing to treat the infection can cause it to spread and worsen, you should contact our dental office as soon as you notice you may have one.

It’s important to note that the infection may not occur immediately after your crown was put on. It may arise at a later time because you have not done a good job at caring for your teeth and crown.

Here at Wells Family Dental, we have helped many patients with infected dental crowns find relief from their pain and stop their infection from worsening. We offer same day emergency appointments and encourage you to call us at 919-266-5332 if you happen to experience an infection after you’ve had a dental crown installed.