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Should You Take Antibiotics Before a Dental Procedure?

Most people think of antibiotics as a way to treat infection, but did you know that antibiotics could also be used to prevent infection. We always let our patients know because it is especially useful information with people who have specific heart conditions and even artificial joints.  Do you ever wonder why your dentist asks you so many health questions about your medical history; it is because your dentist is trying to protect patients from possible infections.

Dental surgery and cleanings are often invasive to your mouth. The procedures usually cause bleeding in your mouth around the gums. The bleeding is what can cause an infection because it allows bacteria to easily get into the blood stream. If and when the bacteria enter into the blood stream, it can affect the heart and artificial joints causing services damage and life threating infections.

We recommend giving antibiotics to our patients before dental surgery because they can eliminate the bacteria. Do you have a heart condition or artificial joints? If so please let your dentist know before any surgery and even regular cleanings. The more you share with your health practitioners the easier it is for you to stay healthy.

All Dentists follow recommendations developed by the American Heart Association, so you can trust that your health is in good hands with your doctor.

For certain heart conditions, antibiotics are recommended about one hour before invasive medical procedures to prevent a condition called infective endocarditis, which is a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection of the inner lining or valve within the heart. But other patients with no heart conditions or artificial joints problems can get procedures without taking antibiotics.

In 2007 the American Heart Association changed the guidelines so that only people at highest risk for developing infective endocarditis are now advised to receive prophylactic antibiotics before invasive procedures.

Taking antibiotics before a dental procedure is not necessary is you

Patients and their families should ask their primary care doctor or their cardiologist if there is any question at all as to whether they should continue to take preventive antibiotics based on the new guidelines. Patients and their families should ask careful questions of their doctors and dentists anytime antibiotics are suggested before a medical or dental procedure.