Dental Tips Blog


Do You Need to Premedicate with an Antibiotic Before Dental Treatment?

Dental treatment and oral surgery can involve sharp tools and manipulation of gum tissue that introduce bacteria to the bloodstream. Oral bacteria can potentially trigger infections in other parts of the body.

For years, many dental patients were prescribed antibiotics to take prior to treatment to prevent bacteria from thriving in the bloodstream.

Nowadays, bigger issues include the threat of antibiotic resistance and a bad reaction to antibiotics. When should a prophylactic antibiotic be prescribed and to whom?

Here are the latest guidelines per ADA (American Dental Association) and AHA (American Heart Association) collaboration:

Who Needs An Antibiotic Before Dental Treatment?

It’s not routinely recommended for those with joint replacements unless there is a history of previous infection.

There’s a more serious risk when the heart could develop an infection.

Specific heart conditions that warrant the use of a prophylactic antibiotic include:

  • Replacement heart valves
  • Heart transplant with a faulty valve
  • Certain serious congenital heart problems
  • A history of infective endocarditis 

When To Take A Prophylactic Antibiotic

Your doctor or dentist will give you directions to take the medication well before dental treatment or surgery. But new guidelines show that it’s still effective to take it up to two hours post-treatment.

Already taking an antibiotic? Your dentist will prescribe you a different kind. 

Keep In Mind

Dental treatment and oral surgery are not the only times you risk getting bacteria in your bloodstream. That can happen during many other daily activities such as brushing your teeth. What you can do is keep your mouth as healthy as possible to limit open sores, delicate gum tissues, and populations of bad bacteria.

Consult with your doctor and local dentist to make sure everyone is on the same page about the latest in prophylactic antibiotic guidelines.

Posted on behalf of:
Enamel Dentistry
2717 S Lamar Blvd #1086
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 717-5315


Are Antibiotics Necessary Before A Teeth Cleaning?

If you have had a heart murmur in the past, or have a mitral valve prolapse, your dentist may have had you take antibiotics prior to having your teeth cleaned.  You may have also noticed that this is no longer being recommended, and wondered why.  This article will discuss the need to take antibiotics prior to a dental visit.

The primary reason dentists prescribed antibiotics to individuals with certain heart diseases was to prevent endocarditis.  Endocarditis is an inflammation and infection of the layers of the heart and heart valves, and it can be deadly.

For many years, any individual who had a history of a heart murmur, childhood heart disease, rheumatic fever, or a mitral valve prolapse was recommended to take antibiotics before dental procedures and dental cleanings.  After years of research, studies found that the rate of heart infections were not impacted, and the use of routine, before treatment antibiotics was discontinued.

There are still certain individuals who should pre-medicate with antibiotics prior to seeing their dentist.  Individuals who have an artificial heart valve, who have had infective endocarditis in the past, who have had a heart transplant, or who suffer from a congenital heart defect should continue to follow their cardiologist and dentist recommendations.  Other individuals, such as though with a mitral valve prolapse, a former history of rheumatic fever, or aortic stenosis, no longer need to take antibiotics.

If you are unclear or unsure if you should take antibiotics before a dental procedure, discuss this with both your cardiologist and dentist.  Together, they can determine the best course of treatment for you to make sure both your heart and your teeth stay healthy for years to come!

Posted on behalf of Marietta Family Dental Care, P.C.


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