Objective: To assess the complaints of patients who were prescribed antibiotics following orodental problems and the need for antibiotics prescribed for this purpose. Setting: Examinations were carried out in the Department of Oral Diagnosis and Radiology, Ege University, Turkey. Participants: A total of 203 patients (129 females and 74 males) between 8-70 years of age (mean age 37.7+/-13.9). Intervention: Examination and report. Main outcome measures: Frequency of unnecessary antibiotic use. Results: Antibiotic therapy was not necessary for 151 (74.4 per cent) cases. Antibiotics were unnecessarily prescribed in 45 cases of acute irreversible pulpitis, 10 chronic apical abscess, 6 acute apical paradontitis, 7 gingivitis, 10 periodontitis, 4 epulis, 2 TMJ (temporomandibular junction) dysfunction, 2 sharp ridge of alveolar bone, 1 burning mouth syndrome and 1 recurrent aphthous stomatitis. In 108 (53.2 per cent) of the cases, the prescribed antibiotics were found to be penicillins, 102 of which were broad-spectrum. It was also determined that only 6 (7.7 per cent) of the 78 cases diagnosed as acute apical abscess were given drainage as local therapy. Conclusions: Principles for treating dental infections suggest that an antibiotic should only be used to supplement and not substitute for conventional surgical methods. Therefore, in cases with acute apical abscess, mechanical treatment (drainage) should be the first step. Inappropriate antibiotic use is quite widespread in dentistry. Dentists should avoid inappropriate use of antibiotics. To prevent inappropriate administration, necessary precautions need to be taken against dispensing antibiotics without prescription.