Do You Need To Take Antibiotics Before A Dental Visit

Dental providers will recommend that certain patients take antibiotics before a dental procedure. This is known as antibiotic prophylaxis.

Why Do Healthcare Providers Recommend Antibiotics?

Doctors’ recommend antibiotics to prevent infection. We all have bacteria in our mouth. Sometimes bacteria can enter our bloodstream, due to dental procedures. This can result in the bacteria traveling to the heart or an artificial joint. A healthy immune system can prevent a bacterial infection. However, in some people bacteremia can cause an infection elsewhere in the body.

Who Is At Risk?

Antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended to people who’ve specific heart conditions. According to the American Heart Association released guidelines, antibiotic prophylaxis should be considered for people with:

  • Artificial heart valves
  • A history of an infection of the lining of the heart or heart valves known as infective endocarditis
  • A heart transplant in which a problem develops with one of the valves inside the heart
  • Heart conditions that are present from birth, such as:
  1. Prosthetic device placed inside heart or catheter intervention during the first 6 months after surgery;
  2. Cyanotic congenital heart disorder along with people having palliative shunts and conduit;
  3. Medical cases wherein a heart defect has not been fully fixed and a residual defect is still present on the area or around that area where prosthetic device has been used for the repair.

Conditions for which antibiotic prophylaxis is no longer recommended include:

  • Bicuspid valve disease
  • Calcified aortic stenosis
  • Mitral valve prolapse or heart murmur
  • Rheumatic heart disease

Antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines also have been developed for people who have orthopedic implants, like artificial joints. So, if you have a heart condition or an orthopedic implant, consult with your dentist or physician about whether antibiotic prophylaxis before dental treatment is right for you or not.

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