Objectives: The use and abuse of antibiotics have been of concern to the medical and the dental profession for some time now, due mainly to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The objective of this project was to determine the rationale and the pattern of antibiotic prescription for dental management in India.
Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to 200 dental practitioners working in India. The questionnaires sought answers to the clinical and non-clinical factors; signs, clinical conditions and dental treatment modalities for which the practitioners would prescribe antibiotics.
Results: Of the 200 questionnaires sent out, 168 (84%) respondents returned fully completed forms. A total of 107 (63.7%) of the respondents were males. Of respondents, 90% would prescribe antibiotics for patients with elevated body temperatures and evidence of systemic involvement, gross or diffuse facial swelling and closure of the eye due to inflammatory swelling. However, over 50% would prescribe antibiotics for cases with localized fluctuant swelling without any systemic involvement, while 59.6% would prescribe for patients with difficulty in swallowing as a result of an oral infection.
Conclusions: The results of this analysis suggest that there is lack of uniformity in the rationale for antibiotic use among dental practitioners. There is an urgent need for the formulation of evidence-based guidelines, which should take into account the peculiar behavioral characteristics of the community.