We generally think about antibiotics as the solution when bacterial infections have developed within the body, but did you know that antibiotics can also be used to prevent life-threatening infections from occurring in the first place? Prior to certain medical or dental procedures, antibiotics can be used to prevent certain bacteria from entering the bloodstream and causing harm. So, should you take antibiotics before your next dental appointment?
Dentists in the Delano MN community follow the guidelines that have been established by the American Heart Association and adopted by the American Dental Association to determine identify the dental patients who could benefit most from this form of antibiotic prophylaxis. To minimize the overuse of antibiotics and to prevent the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, antibiotic prophylaxis is not recommended for every dental patient. This preventive measure is only indicated for those patients who are most at risk for developing a life-threatening infection near the heart, and those patients who are living with a severely compromised immune system. This includes:
- People who have artificial heart valves or have had their heart valves repaired
- People with a history of infective endocarditis
- Anyone who has developed a heart valve problem after a heart transplant
- People with congenital heart disease (repaired or unrepaired)
- People with residual defects near a prosthetic patch or heart device
- People who have had replacement joint surgery AND a weakened immune system
*If you suffer from conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, or take medications such as steroids or chemotherapy, you might also benefit from antibiotics prior to your next dental visit. It’s important to discuss these matters with your dentist at each dental visit.
If your health has changed in any way since your last dental visit, please remember to inform your dentist in advance. Knowing the current status of your health as well as the names and dosages of any medications that you are taking will help your dentist to assess your need for antibiotic prophylaxis. For more information on this life-saving preventive measure, contact a dentist in the Delano MN area today.