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The Dental Professional’s Role in the Prevention of Antibiotic Resistance and Adverse Antibiotic Reactions

Course Number: 614

Physician/Dentist Prescribing Patterns for Antibiotics

The United States (U.S.) CDC states that in 2019, healthcare providers prescribed 251.1 million antibiotic prescriptions—equivalent to 765 antibiotic prescriptions per 1000 persons.17 It is estimated that at least 28% of all outpatient antibiotic use is unnecessary and up to 85% is inappropriate, including unnecessary prescriptions and inappropriate antibiotic course selection.18-20 Dentists prescribe approximately 13% of all antibiotic prescriptions and represent the third largest group of prescribers behind family medicine and internal medicine physicians.2 While the data are incomplete, a survey of dentists’ prescribing patterns found that 70% of dentists reported patients’ receiving inappropriate prescription of antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental procedures and adherence to antibiotic prescribing guidelines by dental practitioners has been reported to be both variable and suboptimal.22 Among dentists, the most common antibiotics prescribed were amoxicillin, clindamycin, penicillin, azithromycin, and cephalexin.2 Overall, a high level of variability was reported in prescription rates between dental specialties, with Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology prescribing on average over three times the number of antibiotic courses per practitioner compared to rates for dentists overall with Orthodontists having the lowest antibiotic prescription rates. 2 Additionally, it was found that most antibiotic prescription courses were prescribed for 7-10 days.2