There was an interesting article in the New York Times on January 18, 2012 “When Pills Fail, This, er, Option Provides a Cure.” When antibiotics are taken, the equilibrium in the gut can be adversely affected, and the organism Clostridium difficile can sometimes cause serious infections in such situations. A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that while antibiotics cured only 3 of 13 and 4 of 13 patients with recurrent C. difficile infections, “fecal transplants” (transplanting feces from a healthy person into the gut of a patient with C. difficile infection) cured 15 of 16 patients, a remarkable cure rate without the side-effects of antibiotic therapy.
In the Times article, it was mentioned that one of the patients successfully receiving the fecal transplant was healthy until contracting C. difficile “after taking an antibiotic for dental work. She had profuse diarrhea, uncontrollable vomiting and high fevers that landed her in the hospital. She suffered repeated bouts, lost 12 pounds and missed months of work. Her young children would find her lying on the bathroom floor.”
Antibiotics are powerful prescription drugs that can be very beneficial in treating infections, but they can have serious side-effects. Fortunately, antibiotics are needed only infrequently in dentistry. Most dental infections can easily be treated. For example, an infected tooth can usually be treated with either root canal therapy or an extraction, and either treatment will usually lead to a cure of the infection without antibiotics being necessary.
The dentists at Wahl Family Dentistry will prescribe necessary antibiotics only after carefully considering your particular health situations and the risks and benefits of such medications. We stock some common antibiotics so we can often supply them for you if necessary at no charge. It should be noted that if you desire a “fecal transplant,” we do not offer that at Wahl Family Dentistry.