The routine use of antibacterial agents in the treatment of uncomplicated odontogenic infections has not been shown to be effective. Most such infections respond to timely debridement. When treating complicated odontogenic infections, the adjunctive use of antibacterial agents is justified. The empirical drug of choice should be the most effective and least toxic agent with the narrowest spectrum. Prophylactic antibacterial chemotherapy in dentistry should be limited to the prevention of those infections that have been proven or are strongly suspected to be procedure-specific. It is axiomatic that before prescribing an antibacterial agent, the clinician must consider the diagnosis, the need for drug therapy, and the benefits versus risks of treatment.