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Oral Health Made Simple: Your Prescription For Knowledge
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Amoxicillin

Common brand names: Amoxil, Trimox

Description: Amoxicillin is a member of the penicillin class of antibiotics. It is called an extended-spectrum antibiotic. That means it can kill a wider range of bacteria than penicillin VK. It is better absorbed than ampicillin. It works longer than penicillin VK and ampicillin.

Dental uses: Amoxicillin is the drug of choice for people who need antibiotics before dental treatments. These people are at risk of developing a heart infection called endocarditis. This is a serious bacterial infection. It may be fatal. People at risk for this infection take antibiotics before dental treatments that tend to cause bleeding. People at risk include those who have:

  • Artificial heart valves
  • A history of endocarditis
  • Certain forms of congenital heart disease
  • A transplanted heart that has developed valve disease

Bleeding can occur in treatments that:

  • Puncture or cut into mouth tissue
  • Manipulate the gums or the area around a tooth root

Some people with artificial joints of the hip, knee or elbow also are given amoxicillin before certain dental treatments.

Amoxicillin also is given to people who have abscesses, infections around their wisdom teeth or infections that develop after surgery.

Dosages for dental purposes: If you are at risk for developing bacterial endocarditis, your dentist or physician will prescribe a single 2-gram dose. This is taken 30 to 60 minutes before dental treatments that are likely to cause bleeding. In people at risk for a joint infection, the dose is taken 60 minutes before the dental treatment.

The typical adult dose for dental infections is 250 milligrams to 500 milligrams every 8 hours. It may be prescribed for 7 to 10 days.

Children are given a liquid form of amoxicillin. Their dose is based on body weight.

As with all medicines, be sure to follow your doctor's prescription. Take amoxicillin for the prescribed length of time, even if you start to feel better. Do not stop taking it without talking to your doctor. Stopping an antibiotic too soon may cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics. This means the antibiotics won't work the next time.

Concerns and possible side effects: Tell your dentist and physician about all the medicines you take. This should include over-the-counter vitamins and herbal supplements. Also, let your dentist know if you have had a sensitive or allergic reaction to any medicine. If you are pregnant or nursing, or might be pregnant, talk to your primary care doctor before starting any new medicine. This also includes vitamins and supplements.

Amoxicillin can make birth control pills less effective. Therefore, you should discuss this issue with your prescribing doctor.

People taking blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin (Coumadin) may be more likely to bleed while taking amoxicillin.

Amoxicillin may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and yeast infections. A mild rash occurs in about 5% to 10% of children and some adults who take amoxicillin. It is usually not serious. But you may not be able to tell if this is a common rash or one that is a sign of an allergic reaction. Therefore, tell your doctor about the rash. Sometimes, amoxicillin turns the tongue black. This is known as black hairy tongue. It often goes away.

If you are allergic to amoxicillin or another penicillin drug, do not take it. Allergic reactions vary. Some people get a rash. Some people have a drop in blood pressure. In others, the airway swells and makes it difficult to breathe. If you take a medicine and begin to have difficulty breathing, get medical help right away.

Tell your doctor about any reaction to a prescribed medicine, no matter how minor it might be.

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