The facts about antibiotic premedication before dental procedures

Over the years, there’s been much confusion, concern, and miscommunication about the reason for taking antibiotics before a dental procedure.

For one, any dental patient with any heart condition was told in the past that antibiotics would be needed prior to any dental procedure. Of course, everyone felt this was ridiculous because not every dental procedure caused bleeding (bleeding allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream), and many people started asking the most logical question of all: Do I need to take antibiotics before I brush and floss my teeth, because I see blood when I expectorate?

Precisely!

Further, did you know that the American Heart Association has never really based their recommendations on factual information? Few read the fine print, so if you’re interested, go to the American Heart Association’s website and see for yourself.

All things said, it seems that for some dental procedures, premedication is truly warranted. These would be procedures that significant bleeding might be anticipated. But hold it: does that mean everybody should premedicate? Absolutely not! The new recommendations are aimed at the following groups:

1. Artificial heart valves
2. A history of infective endocarditis
3. Certain serious congenital heart conditions
4. Heart transplant THAT develops a heart valve problem

That’s it!

For those of us in the health care field, we feel that these recommendations are the most logical of them all, yet we still don’t have proof that it will avoid problems. No doubt newer recommendations will continue to be forthcoming.

However, there still remains yet another grey area … that of artificial joints and prostheses. The recommendations from orthopedic surgeons still remains wide and varied, and I suggest that you talk it over with your surgeon before any dental procedure is scheduled.

For more information, visit these reliable sites:

www.heart.org | www.ada.org | www.ama.org

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