Clindamycin For Tooth Infection: Indications, Dosage and Effects

When a tooth becomes infected as a result of bacterial invasion, there can be pus accumulation in the mouth. This is called an abscess.

An antibiotic does not have to be prescribed for every tooth infection but if your dentist recommends one, Clindamycin may be one of them. Clindamycin is not usually prescribed except in cases of allergy to the commonly prescribed antibiotics.

What Is Clindamycin Used For?

Clindamycin is a strong antibiotic that is used for treating and preventing many infections such as ear infections, bone infections, sinus infections, meningitis, community-acquired pneumonia, and tooth infections.


It belongs to a group of medicines known as lincosamide or lincomycin antibiotics and works by stopping bacteria from producing the protein they need to multiply and spread infection in the body. It is available in capsules, cream, suppositories and also injections.

Clindamycin and Tooth Infection

Antibiotics like amoxicillin are most commonly used to treat tooth infections but in cases of allergy or when you haven’t had success with penicillin antibiotics, clindamycin may become the drug of choice.

Also, it is active against a variety of bacteria and this is important because tooth infections often involve several types of bacteria. Clindamycin is also the drug of choice when the infection has spread to the jaw bone. This condition is called osteomyelitis.

Clindamycin Dosage

Clindamycin is available in pharmacies as the brand name Dalacin C or Cleocin. The usual prescribed dose for adults is 150-300 mg- that is one or two capsules to be taken four times daily for about a week or two. The dose is less than this if it is prescribed for a child.

Clindamycin can also be given intravenously in severe cases for quicker action.

  • Take your doses every six hours so that it is evenly spaced throughout the day. It can be taken before or after meals.
  • If you miss a dose, take one as soon as you remember and do not take two doses at the same time to make up for missed doses.
  • Don’t stop taking the antibiotics even if you feel your infection has cleared up. Continue taking it until the course is finished unless you are told to stop by your doctor. This is to prevent the infection from coming back and antibiotic resistance.
  • The treatment usually lasts for about a week. It may be longer than this if you are taking clindamycin for infections that have spread to the jaw bone.
  • Some people experience throat irritation when taking clindamycin, but swallowing the capsule with a full glass of water can help you avoid this. DO NOT take clindamycin with alcohol because it can increase the risk of side effects.

How Long Does It Take To Work?

As soon as you start taking clindamycin, you will notice an improvement in your symptoms after the first or second day. If you are not getting better or your symptoms are not improving at all after taking clindamycin for a few days, make sure you contact your doctor.

Possible Allergic Reactions

Allergic reaction to clindamycin is a rare occurrence but if you notice any of these while taking the medication, it may be a sign of drug allergy.


If you notice any kind of rash on your body while taking the medication, contact your healthcare provider as this may be an allergic reaction to clindamycin.


Although rare, it’s possible to have a potentially life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. These symptoms appear within 30 minutes of taking the drug and include vomiting, chest tightness, difficulty in breathing, diarrhea, itchy red rashes and passing out. This is a medical emergency that requires urgent treatment.

Side Effects of Clindamycin

As the case is with most drugs, clindamycin can cause a range of side effects, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Joint pain
  • Heartburn
  • White patches in the mouth
  • Loss of appetite

In rare cases, clindamycin can also increase your risk of coming down with Clostridium difficile infection. This infection happens when there is a disturbance in the balance of bacteria in your intestines during treatment with certain antibiotics.

Symptoms of C. difficile infection to look out for are watery diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever, abdominal pain, and nausea.


A tooth infection may or may not require antibiotics depending on the severity and your dentist’s recommendation. If clindamycin is prescribed, ensure that you take the full dose as required so as to prevent the infection from coming back.

Latest posts by Raliat Ola-Dauda, PharmD (see all)
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