The pandemic has had a negative impact on antibiotic prescribing patterns in dentistry. Dental teams in both general practice and hospital settings are urged to re-start auditing their antibiotic prescribing against the recently updated national guidelines. This will help to reduce the use of antimicrobials and improve patient outcomes.
Dental teams are encouraged to use best practice and prescribe antibiotics only when indicated according to national guidelines:
- College of Dentistry Guidelines for antimicrobial prescribing in dentistry
- Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme Drug Prescribing for Dentistry
- BDA's antimicrobial stewardship toolkit.
The dental profession has shown its commitment to addressing antimicrobial resistance by significantly reducing the use of antibiotics over the last decade prior to the pandemic, both in dental practice and hospital settings. Before the pandemic, dental hospitals in the UK and Ireland reduced antibiotic prescriptions by 22% and 30% for therapeutic and prophylactic indications respectively between 2018 and 2020.
Prudent prescribing of antimicrobials can slow down the development of antimicrobial resistance and, as healthcare providers, dentists have a vital role to play.
This call is also supported by the Association of Dental Hospitals, British Dental Association, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, British Association of Oral Surgery, British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.