Do You Need Antibiotics Before a Dental Procedure?

antibiotic prophylaxis

Do You Need Antibiotics Before a Dental Procedure?

In most cases, taking antibiotics before a dental procedure isn’t recommended unless you have a high risk of infection. There have been changes to the ADA’s recommendations in recent years regarding antibiotic prophylaxis. If your doctor has previously told you that you need antibiotics before a dental procedure, that may no longer be the case. 

At Dr. Saba and Associates, our compassionate team aims to keep our patients up to date on these guidelines, to help prevent the overuse of antibiotics. Continue reading to learn more about antibiotic prophylaxis and when it’s necessary. 

What Is Antibiotic Prophylaxis?

Also known as premedication, antibiotic prophylaxis refers to the process of taking antibiotics before a dental procedure. When recommended, premedication can help prevent infections caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream during a teeth cleaning, root canal, tooth extraction, gum disease treatment, or other dental procedure

However, only people who are at high risk of infection or who have certain heart conditions will need antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent infections in other parts of the body. People with good overall health don’t need antibiotics before a dental procedure, because their bodies can fight off bacterial infections on their own. 

Taking antibiotics when they aren’t necessary can increase your antibiotic resistance, making the medication less effective when you truly need it. If you think you need antibiotics before a dental procedure, talk to your doctor and your dentist ahead of time to determine if premedication is right for you. 

Antibiotic Prophylaxis No Longer Recommended for Patients with Prosthetic Joint Implants

According to the American Dental Association (ADA)’s recommendations, only people who are at an increased risk of infections due to certain medical conditions should consider premedication, to avoid antibiotic overuse. However, the ADA responsibly updates these recommendations as new evidence comes forward. 

For instance, joint replacement patients were previously thought to be high-risk, but, as of 2015, antibiotic prophylaxis is no longer recommended for patients with prosthetic joint implants. Prosthetic joint implant infections after a dental procedure were found to be uncommon, so taking antibiotics ahead of time was deemed unnecessary. There are exceptions to this, so if you have a history of complications related to your prosthetic joint implant, you should still consult your surgeon and dentist about premedication. 

What Types of Medical Conditions Require Antibiotic Prophylaxis Before a Dental Procedure?

In the past, taking antibiotics before a dental procedure was recommended for a wide range of medical conditions. Today, antibiotic prophylaxis is only recommended for patients with certain heart conditions. Keep in mind that you may still be prescribed antibiotics by your dentist if you show signs of an infection in your mouth, regardless of whether or not you need dental work. 

The American Heart Association (AHA) only recommends premedication for high-risk patients who have:

  • Cyanotic congenital heart disease that has not been fully repaired (including children who have surgical shunts and conduits)
  • A congenital heart defect that has been repaired using prosthetic materials or devices (for the initial six months after the procedure)
  • A history of endocarditis
  • Residual defects from repaired congenital heart disease, such as leaks or abnormal flow
  • A prosthetic heart valve or a heart valve repair using prosthetic material
  • A heart transplant with an abnormal valve function

Experienced Dentists in Sun Lakes

Drs. Saba and Romanin follow all the latest antibiotic prophylaxis recommendations to ensure that all your dental procedures are safe and effective. We have successfully treated dental patients with prosthetic joint implants, heart disease, and many other medical conditions. If you have any questions about taking antibiotics before a dental procedure, give us a call at 480-895-2111 today to schedule a consultation. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/18/2022). Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash