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


Antibiotics and Dental Infections

Posted in Gum Disease

Getting antibiotics called in by your dentist can help alleviate the pain and infection of some types of dental problems, but in many cases they simply cover up the cause of the problem.  For example, severe forms of gum disease or dental abscesses may need to be treated with antibiotics prior to professional periodontal therapy being performed. This allows the inflammation and infectious bacterial levels to go down, so that treatment can be more effective.

Prescribing antibiotics too frequently can cause drug resistance to occur, making the medication ineffective in certain people or on particular types of bacteria. Drug resistance can also occur if you do not take your medication as prescribed. Simply taking the medicine until your symptoms go away and then not finishing up the entire course of the antibiotic will only cause the infection to get worse before it gets better. While you may no longer have symptoms, the bacteria are still alive and thriving in the area of infection, and the full course of antibiotics must be completed in order to heal the area as best as possible.

Typically antibiotic use is only reserved for the most advanced cases of dental infections. Don’t take it personally if you ask your dentist for a prescription antibiotic and they won’t give you one! Regardless of whether or not your dentist prescribes you medication, it’s very important to have your treatment completed in a timely manner so that bacteria cannot continue to seep into the infected nerve, tooth, or gum tissue can be removed or sealed out permanently. When used in conjunction with therapeutic treatments, antibiotics can be an effective part of managing severe dental conditions.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center



Antibiotic Use For Dental Infections

Posted in Gum Disease

Drug resistance is a growing concern among care providers and their patients. While a simple prescription antibiotic can eliminate initial infections, they may not always completely eradicate the cause of the problem, wasting the entire course of medication if nothing else is done following their completion of the prescription. Dental patients are no different.

Dentists typically prescribe antibiotics for very severe dental infections prior to restorative or therapeutic procedures. By clearing up initial infections, your body can respond better to therapies, and your dentist can better access areas of disease. Inflamed tissues aren’t only more difficult to treat, they’re also difficult to anesthetize, making you more uncomfortable.

Your dentist may decide to write you a prescription for antibiotics if you have a severe abscess or chronic form of periodontal disease where excess swelling and pus is evident. The medication should be taken until the course is fully finished, even if your symptoms go away sooner. This prevents drug resistance and recurrent infections that may be hard to treat. Combined with antibiotics, you should also schedule treatment in a timely manner. This allows the dentist to remove and correct the cause of infection such as decay, tartar or plaque. Otherwise the bacteria just gain more strength and the symptoms return.

The American Heart Association used to recommend antibiotic prophylaxis for dental patients that have had joint replacements or certain major surgeries and conditions such as mitral valve prolapse. Guidelines have recently changed, and premedication with antibiotics is typically no longer needed for routine dental procedures. Always be sure to review your entire health history with your dental office at each visit to make sure any necessary precautions are taken.

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