The aim of this survey was to assess the knowledge and practice of Swiss dentists focusing on the use of antibiotics in prophylactic surgical removal of lower wisdom teeth. A postal survey was conducted among all 3288 dentists who are members of the Swiss Dental Society (SSO) representing nearly all dentists in Switzerland. The questionnaire consisted of 13 questions with mostly multiple-choice answers. Demographic profile, surgical experience, the use of antibiotics, and wound management, i.e. wound closure and the use of mouth rinse were assessed. A response rate of 55% was obtained. Most Swiss dentists perform surgical extractions in their practices. Of all dentists, 18.6% used antibiotics routinely, but a large variation was found comparing the three linguistic regions of Switzerland with the highest prescription rate of 48% in the French-speaking south-west of Switzerland. Fifty-two percent of dentists prescribed amoxicillin in a dose of 750 mg. Most often three daily doses were prescribed (47%). A postoperative regime was prescribed by 54.4% of dentists. French language (p=0.003), graduation from the university of Geneva (p=0.007), foreign diplomas (p<0.001), and dentists with diplomas awarded from 2001-2006 (p=0.004) showed a highly significant correlation with the use of antibiotics. In Switzerland, prophylactic antibiotics are used in third molar surgery. Antibiotic prescription however largely depends on geographical situation and dentist profiles. The assessment of antibiotic use in private practices is important in the light of growing evidence that antibiotic overuse may lead to development of multiresistant bacterial strains. In a second part results regarding wound management and mouth rinse will be presented.

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