Dental Premedication: What is it and Why do I Need it?

What is Dental Premedication?

Dental premedication is antibiotics that are taken prior to a procedure to prevent infection. Bacteria can travel through your blood stream and cause an infection in your heart if there is any weakened tissue or infect an artificial implant.  There seems to be a lot of confusion about if you should take premedication for a dental appointment.  It can be confusing because the American Heart Association and the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons tend to revamp what they suggest every few years depending on new findings within research, so it’s important for you and for us as dental providers to stay in tune with what is currently being recommended.

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Why do I Need Dental Premedication?

As for right now, the American Heart Association suggests taking antibiotics for patients that have had artificial heart valves placed, a history of infective endocarditis, serious congenital conditions, mitral valve prolapse with regurgitation, any sort of heart repair with prosthetic material, and if there is an issue after having a heart transplant.  If you have any questions about if you need to take premedication or not for a heart condition, it’s best to check with your cardiologist. It is better to be safe than sorry so if there is any doubt, go ahead and take the antibiotics.

The American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons in 2012 found that it wasn’t necessary for everyone who has had an artificial orthopedic implant placed to take antibiotics prior to a dental appointment. Each individual case is different. It may be suggested to take antibiotics if you have something like a weakened immune system. It really is up to your physician whether or not you should take antibiotics prior to a dental visit. Your dental office might not always be sure and will probably want you to take them just in case, so if you want a definite answer, best to check with your physician.

Premedication is available so you can be protected.  It’s important for you to be aware of conditions that you have that may require antibiotics so make it a priority to know your health care needs and make sure that if you are in for a dental appointment, mention to your provider any health changes, heart conditions or artificial orthopedic implants. We want you to be healthy in and out of our care.

Information compiled from WebMD, the ADA and staff at Szmanda Dental 2014

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