Did you know that for certain individuals it is recommended they take an antibiotic before (or immediately after) some dental procedures? This is because the mouth is full of bacteria which, if it gets into the bloodstream, can create an infection in other parts of the body.
Your immune system is normally able to fight off bacteria that enter the bloodstream, but those with heart conditions are more vulnerable to the infection it can cause. Individuals who should premedicate (which is called antibiotic prophylaxis) before a dental procedure are ones who have one of the following conditions:
- Artificial heart valves or problems with the valves that developed during a heart transplant.
- A history of endocarditis which is an infection in the heart.
- Heart conditions such as palliative shunts or cyanotic congenital heart disease.
It used to be recommended that those with artificial joints also premedicate before a dental procedure, but this practice has been discontinued. It is only advised for those who also have a weakened immune system due to illnesses such as cancer.
Speak with your dentist about whether you should premedicate before a dental procedure. The procedures where antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended are the ones in which an incision is made to oral tissues. These procedures include tooth extractions, implant placement, and root canal treatment.