Dr. Susan Sutherland is Chief of Dentistry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and President of the Canadian Association of Hospital Dentists
Dentists in community practices usually work in isolation from our physician colleagues. Often, dentists prescribe an antibiotic to patients in advance of minor dental procedures like root canal therapy. Evidence shows us that the prophylactic antibiotic use for most patients is not necessary in these cases. And, if the patient develops a C. difficile infection several weeks after the unnecessary antibiotic, the dentist is usually not informed of this until the patient is seen at their next checkup – if at all. Not only do dentists not usually get feedback about the adverse event caused by inappropriate antibiotic use, they are also unaware of their role in the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.