The American Heart Association (AHA) has updated its guidelines for preventing infective endocarditis (I.E.) with antibiotics (premedication). The AHA indicates that only people who have had infective endocarditis, have artificial heart valves, serious heart conditions from birth that have or have not been repaired, or heart valve problems stemming from a heart transplant need to take antibiotics before invasive dental treatment. As of April 2009, The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons also states that patients with any kind of joint replacements need to take antibiotics before having any dental treatment.
What is Infective Endocarditis (I.E.)?
Infective Endocarditis is an infection around the heart valves caused by bacteria from the mouth that gets into the blood stream and accumulates around the inner lining of the heart. Based on new research, many people who previously had to take an antibiotic before going to the dentist do not have to do so anymore. Evidence based research shows that the risks of taking the antibiotics outweigh the benefits. Risks of taking antibiotics include the possibility of your body becoming resistant to the antibiotic, or having an allergic reaction to the medication.
I have a heart murmur and I have always been told I needed to premedicate before dental appointments. Why don’t I have to anymore?
Evidence based research concludes that the risks of taking the antibiotic outweighs the benefits.
Even though I don’t have to premedicate before a dental appointment, I’ve done so for so long I would just feel better doing so. Why can’t I just do it?
If you overuse antibiotics you risk your body becoming resistant to the antibiotic when you really need it to fight off an infection. You can also have an allergic reaction to the medication which can result in life threatening anaphylactic shock.