When to Receive Antibiotics Before Dental Treatment

Since some dental patients are more at risk than others to develop infections or complications after a procedure, these patients may undergo a process called antibiotic prophylaxis. Antibiotic prophylaxis is when a patient will receive antibiotics before the procedure even takes place. A dental procedure such as an extraction, cleaning, or even gum disease treatment puts some patients at risk to incur infections after bacteria from the mouth are released into the bloodstream, causing a problem called infective endocarditis. Infective endocarditis is essentially an infection of the heart’s valves as a result of this bacteria.

The following conditions are ones that will likely require antibiotic prophylaxis before your dental procedure to minimize risk of this condition!

Artificial Heart Valve

If you have an artificial heart valve, your dentist will likely ask you to take antibiotics before your procedure. This is because endocarditis can happen if your heart has abnormal valves where the bacteria can attach themselves and proliferate in the heart.

You may have an artificial heart valve if you’ve had mitral valve disease, in which the valves of the heart do not work properly to allow adequate blood flow. Always inform your dentist if you have an artificial valve before receiving any type of treatment to reduce your risk of endocarditis.

Heart Transplant

If you’ve had a heart transplant, especially one that was the result of the problem with your heart valves, you’ll likely need antibiotic prophylaxis before your cleaning or extraction. Be sure to tell your dentist if you’ve had a heart transplant or even if you’ve had infective endocarditis previously. He or she can recommend the course of action that will ensure your safety during the procedure. You may have had a heart transplant if you have a heart defect, advanced heart disease, or heart failure. Infective endocarditis isn’t worth the risk to your heart—talk to your dentist about your heart transplant.

Heart Defects

Certain heart defects like congenital heart disease may require the use of antibiotics before a dental procedure. It’s important to disclose this information to your dentist to see if you qualify. The more your dentist knows, the more he or she can help you take the best care of yourself. Tell your dentist if you have any type of heart condition before receiving treatment, even a cleaning!

Joint Surgery or Replacement

Patients who have had previous joint surgery like a replacement of the joint or hip may need to take antibiotics before going to the dentist. This is because they’re more at risk to develop an infection in the replaced joint after their dental cleaning or other procedure. While this won’t apply to every patient, if you have doubts about whether or not you need antibiotics, ask your dentist!

Your dentist does the best he or she can to ensure you have a safe and effective procedure. Whether you’re getting a simple teeth cleaning or getting treatment for gum disease or a tooth extraction, talk to your dentist about whether or not you should receive antibiotics before the procedure. If you have any of the above conditions, you likely will need to!