The Need for Antibiotic Premedication Before a Dental Procedure

It is common practice among dentists to instruct their patients to take antibiotics before their scheduled dental procedure — from tooth extraction to a root canal treatment. This is often referred to as antibiotic prophylaxis (prophylaxis also means prevention or preventive treatment). Here at our South Florida aesthetic dentistry practice, we get a lot of queries from patients concerning antibiotic prophylaxis. We explain such practice below.

Why Premedicate with Antibiotics?

First of all, your body is actually made up of bacteria, more or less trillions of them. Not all bacteria are bad for you though. As a matter of fact, there are certain types of bacteria which prevents you from getting sick. But that would be another story.

When a dental procedure is done, say a wisdom tooth extraction, you increase the chances of your “bad bacteria” proliferating in your mouth due to certain factors such as age in which your immune system gets weaker. When the bad bacteria in your mouth increases in number after a dental procedure, it may be possible for the bacteria to enter your bloodstream and cause infection in some parts of your body.

An excellent example for someone who may need to be premedicated with antibiotics is a patient who just had a plastic valve inserted into his heart. The bacteria who made their way into the patient’s bloodstream following a dental procedure may also wiggle their way into the heart valve and result to a serious condition called infective endocarditis.

Common Conditions That May Need Antibiotic Prophylaxis Before a Dental Procedure

  • Individuals with history of infective endocarditis
  • Individuals with artificial heart valves
  • Individuals who had  a heart transplant and later developed valve problems such as cardiac valvulopathy
  • Individuals with heart conditions since birth, also known as congenital heart disease
  • Individuals with prosthetic joints
  • Individuals who have compromised immune systems brought about by certain medical conditions/treatments which include but are not limited to HIV, sickle cell anemia, lupus, poorly controlled diabetes, and chronic steroid use. 

Your dentist and your primary care physician may need to collaborate with each other to figure out whether or not you need to have antibiotic prophylaxis before a dental procedure. Would you like to learn more about the need to take antibiotics before any procedure here at our South Florida cosmetic dentistry practice? Get in touch with us by calling 561-627-9000 or by filling out this contact form.

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