Antibiotics and your Mouth
Why do I require antibiotics before my dental visit?
During any invasive dental treatment, bacteria can be introduced into the blood stream. This poses a serious threat to those individuals with heart abnormalities. This bacteria may cause inflammation of the heart (endocarditis) or surrounding tissues. Taking antibiotic medication before dental treatment significantly reduces your risk of developing this inflammation.
What types of heart abnormalities need to be considered?
There are many conditions that are associated with this endocarditis. Your physician or cardiologist determines whether or not you require antibiotic premedication. Some conditions that require this medication include:
- Heart surgery within past six months
- Vascular surgery (replaced artery) within past six months
- Artificial heart valve
- History of rheumatic fever
- History of heart murmur (mitral valve prolapse)
- Previous bacterial endocarditis
- Systemic pulmonary shunt
- Congenital heart defect
- Acquired valvular dysfunction
If any of these conditions apply to you, please consult your dentist before any dental treatment.
Who determines antibiotic premedication?
Your dental office follows the recommendation of the American Heart Association. This organization determines who requires these antibiotics, what the dosage is, and when this medication should be taken.
What about a joint replacement?
For the first two years after joint replacement, all patients should be pre-medicated. After this time period your orthopedic surgeon makes the determination. Your dentist follows this determination. The bacteria in the mouth can be introduced into the blood stream. These bacteria then can attach itself to the artificial joint.