Where do antibiotics and dental treatment come in?Of course, this isn’t the case for everyone. For some people, when bacteria enters the bloodstream, there is concern it will develop an infection of the heart lining or valves (infective endocarditis) or an infection of orthopedic implants.Before oral surgery, antibiotics are prescribed to anyone with certain heart conditions and those who have orthopedic implants (such as artificial joints or metal plates or rods) to prevent these infections. This practice is called antibiotic prophylaxis, or preventative medicine.
Who is a candidate for preventative antibiotics?Previously, the American Heart Association advocated nearly everyone with a heart condition needed to take antibiotics before dental procedures or oral surgery. However, in 2007 the AHA simplified its recommendations to include only those who posed the highest risk of IE.This includes anyone with:
- Artificial heart valves
- A history of IE
- A heart transplant causing irregular heart valve function
- Specific heart defects including:
- Non-repaired or incompletely fixed cyanotic congenital heart disease (a condition present at birth causing low oxygen levels in the blood). This includes those with palliative shunts and conduits.
- A heart defect completely repaired by either a device or prosthetic material during the first six months after the procedure.
- A repaired heart defect with residual defects at or next to a prosthetic patch or device. This includes persisting leaks or abnormal flow at or near the site.