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Can dentists prescribe antibiotics? Thanks to the recent study conducted to try and address the issue of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, medical practitioners and dentists to be specific, have been in the limelight over prescribing antibiotics.
Antibiotics are a very integral aspect of modern day dentistry. Antibiotics are very crucial when it comes to the management of oral facial infections. Since a lot of the oral-facial infections which are experienced today originate from dental infections, prescribing of antibiotics by dentists to combat the numerous complications has become part of their daily practice.
Before we delve deeper into the prescription of antibiotics by dentists, it is important to address the matter of writing prescriptions in America. Who is authorized to prescribe medication in the country? What medication are dentists capable of prescribing in the country?
Writing prescriptions in America
In America, a prescription is an order for medication which is to be dispensed to a particular user normally a patient. Before writing a prescription, the issuer of the prescription needs to have conducted proper diagnosis of the recipient of the prescribed medication to ascertain that he/she needs the medications and that the prescribed medication is the most suited to address whatever problem he/she is suffering from.
When writing a prescription, the issuer needs to clearly indicate the medication name, the strength of the medication, the dosage form, the quantity prescribed, directions for use, number of refills, the patient’s full names, the issuer’s full names, date of issue and the issuer’s DEA registration number.
Prescriptions in America can be of two forms – prescriptions for controlled substances and prescriptions for uncontrolled substances. Controlled substances are generally drugs or chemical substances whose manufacture, handling and even use is regulated by the federal government. This includes anything from illegal drugs to certain medications.
Uncontrolled substances, on the other hand, are legal substances which are normally over the counter medications which are prescribed by medical practitioners to treat medical conditions, suppress certain symptoms or to prevent infectious diseases.
Who are authorized to write medical prescriptions in America?
Writing prescriptions for controlled substances is only reserved to very few people in America. A prescription can only be issued by a physician, dentist, podiatrist, veterinarian and any other medical practitioner on condition that;
1. They are authorized by the state in which they are operating to prescribe controlled medication.
2. They are registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency and have a valid DEA registration number permitting them to write prescriptions for patients.
Writing prescriptions by dentists
As we have already seen above, dentists are legally allowed to write medical prescriptions for their patients but they need to satisfy a few requirements before they can write prescriptions for certain medications.
Upon licensure by the relevant state dental body, dentists are automatically allowed to write prescriptions for non-controlled substances. In dentistry, such substances include medications such as fluoride and ibuprofen and other uncontrolled substances which are normal over the counter medication.
To write prescriptions for controlled substances though, licensed dentists need to make applications to the DEA and statewide departments of public health. In America, each state has its own dental practice act and regulations governing it and the application requirements can, therefore, differ from one state to another.
Once a dentist has obtained permission from the DEA and has a valid registration number, has satisfied the relevant dental body in his/her state, then they can legally write prescriptions for their patients. This licensure and granting of permission from the statewide body do not limit the class of drugs which a dentist can legally prescribe to a patient.
To prescribe medication a dentist needs to ensure that the prescription is written for a legitimate purpose which needs to be medical in this case and secondly the prescription must be issued by the dentist in his/her area of practice or domain. This means that if a dentist specializes in cosmetic surgery or maybe orthodontic treatment, they can only write prescriptions in these areas. As for good faith, it simply means that the intended medication is meant to address a valid medical condition and no harm is intended by the prescriber or indeed the issuer of the prescribed medication.
Antibiotic prescription by dentists
Although the abuse of antibiotics in the country is very limited, there is still a need for precautionary measures to prevent the overusing of antibiotics which can lead to resistance of the bacteria to the overused antibiotics.
Dentists are therefore required to only prescribe antibiotics which are aimed at combating oral facial infections and unless there is a connection to a patient’s oral structure, a dentist can’t go about prescribing antibiotics. There is also a limit to the frequency of the prescribing.
Let Vita Dental Spring Help You Understand the Use of Antibiotics
If you are looking for more information on the use of antibiotics for the management of oral facial complications, give us a call or visit our facility in Spring Texas and our dentists will gladly be of help. Choose Vita Dental Spring for the best dental services in Texas.