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How To Get Antibiotics For Abscess Tooth

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

Antibiotics are NOT an over the counter medication, which means they require a prescription in order to get it. Thus, only licensed healthcare professionals can prescribe you antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed antibiotic for a dental abscess is amoxicillin and that is available via prescription only.

amoxicillin RX only

If you have an abscessed tooth, there are a couple of places where you can go to get a prescription for antibiotics. Here is where you may be able to get some antibiotics for a tooth abscess:

How to get antibiotics at the dentist

If you have a tooth abscess, the best place to get antibiotics would be at your dentist. Usually an emergency dentist will

  1. Call your dentist to schedule an appointment. If you don't have one then you can search for one on Google.

  2. Go in for your consultation and examination.

  3. Describe to them about your tooth abscess and receive all necessary examinations and x-rays.

  4. Leave with antibiotics.

Your dentist is the oral health and teeth specialist so they are the best source for getting antibiotics for an abscessed tooth. In fact, they can actually provide you with more than just antibiotics. They can also get rid of the source of the infection.

The only way to permanently get rid of the source of a tooth abscess is by having the offending tooth removed or a root canal procedure.

  • Tooth extraction. This procedure will remove the entire tooth from your mouth. This will get rid of the source of the abscess since it usually stems from WITHIN the tooth. If you do this procedure, the antibiotics may not even be necessary.

  • Root canal. A more conservative approach would be to keep the tooth in the mouth and remove the nerve and infection from inside the tooth only. Your dentist will clean out the inside of the tooth to clear the abscess. The advantage is that you get to keep your tooth.

How to get antibiotics from your Physician

An alternative option if you can't get an appointment with your dentist would be to try to get antibiotics from your medical doctor. They may not be able to treat the tooth abscess directly but they do have the ability to prescribe you antibiotics.

  1. Call your doctors office to schedule an appointment.

  2. Go in for the examination.

  3. They may give you antibiotics but also recommend that you go to your dentist afterwards.

It is highly recommended that you follow up with your dentist for the tooth infection because they are the only ones who can get rid of it. The antibiotics will only slow down the spread of the infection but won't cure it.

How to get antibiotics at urgent care

If you are unable to get an appointment with either your dentist or your physician, you could always try an urgent care. They definitely have physicians on staff but not dentist. They do have the capability to prescribe you antibiotics to at least hold you off until you can see your dentist.

  1. Call or walk to your nearest urgent care.

  2. They usually always accept walk-ins so just wait for your examination.

  3. Get your prescription and pick it up at your pharmacy!

How to get antibiotics from the emergency department

If you have a severe tooth abscess and it is in the middle of the night, your only option to get antibiotics may be at the emergency department. Your dentist, physician, and urgent care centers are probably all closed if it is extremely late at night.

  1. Find the nearest emergency department.

  2. Travel there and check yourself in.

  3. Brace yourself for a long wait. You may have to spend 4-12 hours there just to get some antibiotics.

  4. Get your prescription and go pick up the medication.

One perk is that if they do have a dentist on staff, they may be able to see you. However, most emergency departments do NOT have dental equipment there so the dentist will not be able to treat the abscess directly. The most that they can do for you is to provide you with antibiotics. You will need to follow up with a dentist to get it permanently treated.


It is not that easy to get antibiotics for a tooth abscess because they are not over the counter, which means that they require a prescription. The only places where you'll be able to obtain a prescription would be one where there is a licensed healthcare professional. This means that your options on how to procure antibiotics will be limited to dentists, physicians, urgent care, and emergency departments.

Last but not least, we just want to emphasize that antibiotics will not permanently cure an abscess tooth. The medication does not treat the source of the infection. Antibiotics merely treat the side effects of the abscess. This makes it an adjunctive therapy rather than a primary treatment.

If your tooth abscess also made your face swollen, the antibiotics will not get rid of the swelling. You'll notice that even after taking it for a few days, the swelling will persist. You must seek out a dentist in order to have the infection treated.

That is the only way to get rid of an abscess tooth, by treating the source of the infection. Therefore, out of all of the four options on how to get antibiotics for an abscess tooth, going to the dentist will be the best option.



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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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