Patient Forms & Education
Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Heart and Orthopedic Patients
At times, physicians and dentists recommend that a patient take antibiotics before certain dental procedures. This is called “antibiotic prophylaxis”. But why do healthcare providers suggest this step?
We all have bacteria in our mouth, and a number of dental treatments can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream (bacteremia). For most of us, this isn’t a problem. A healthy immune system prevents these bacteria from causing any harm.
There is concern, however, that for some people, bacteremia can cause an infection elsewhere in the body. The American Heart Association has guidelines identifying people who should take antibiotics prior to dental care. According to these guidelines, antibiotic prophylaxis should be considered for people with artificial hearts, someone with a history of infective endocarditis, some patients with a heart murmur, and others who have heart defects. Patients who have had orthopedic implants such as artificial joints are also candidates for prophylaxis.
Talk to your dentist about these guidelines if you have any questions which may affect your treatment.