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Dentistry/abscess treatment


Hi Dr. Backlund and thank you for taking my question

Are abscesses always treated with antibiotics first?  I do not have dental insurance so i am trying to do all i can before going to a dentist.  I have Levofloxacin at home and wondered if that class of antibiotic would treat an infection caused by an abscess?  The last time i had an abscess, the dentist sent me home with a prescription for an antibiotic, and a second appointment about a week later after the antibiotics did its thing - saving the cost of that first visit would really help alot.

thank you so much


Hi Andey,

Unfortunately, the answer to your question is "no". The reason we use antibiotics is to stop an acute infection, reduce swelling and pain. If the abscess is not having any symptoms, then antibiotics may not be needed. Each case has to be judge on it's own. There is not firm rule but it depends on symptoms and the diagnosis of your dentist.

Sorry for the bad news. As an aside, in our office we will usually include the examination fee as part of the total root canal fee. The only time we charge for an examination is when we are just asked for our opinion or we are asked to diagnosis a case and it wasn't needing a root canal. You may find other endodontists that charge like that.

Hope this helps.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD


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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD


I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.


25 years practicing as a specialist

American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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