"Take two aspirin and call me in the morning." This decades-old statement was what many patients were "prescribed" by their doctor when complaining of a minor malady.
The adverse effects of overusing and misusing antibiotics are highly publicized in the health professional literature, most recently in the August issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 million people in the United States are hospitalized and more than 23,000 die each year from superinfections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Clostridium difficile is a particularly vicious resistant bacterium. A major two-year review of antimicrobial resistance reached the grim conclusion that, without drastic curbs, drug-resistant superbugs could claim millions of lives worldwide each year. These superbugs have the potential to become a greater killer than cancer by 2050. Yet, despite the potential dangers and limited usefulness of antibiotics in dentistry and endodontics, their use is common and possibly increasing.