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Do You Need Antibiotic Prophylaxis before Your Dental Work?

Posted on 1/20/2016 by Zac Bird
A collection of antibiotic prophylaxis pills.In the past, some dental patients were prescribed antibiotics prior to having dental work done. This was known as antibiotic prophylaxis, and fortunately, the American Dental Association has determined that in many cases, dental patients don't need to have antibiotic prophylaxis in order to prevent infections.

What Exactly Is Antibiotic Prophylaxis?

Antibiotic prophylaxis (also known as premedication) involves taking antibiotics before a dental procedure, including extractions, root canals, and even cleanings. The goal is to prevent infection, as we have bacteria in our mouth that can enter the blood stream. For most people, this isn't a problem, as a healthy immune system will stop these bacteria before they are able to cause any harm.

Up until 2011, premedication before dental procedures was often a common occurrence, especially for patients who had previously had a joint replacement. This was done even though there was very little evidence that supported the practice.

The next year, the ADA published guidelines suggesting that dentists should stop the practice of routinely prescribing out prophylactic antibiotics. It was determined that for most people, the risks associated with taking antibiotics was likely to outweigh any potential and uncertain benefits.

Can Anyone Benefit from Antibiotic Prophylaxis?

There are certain circumstances where you might still be a good candidate for premedication with antibiotics. For example, antibiotic prophylaxis could be useful for patients who went through dental procedures that might also have a compromised immune system.

This can include people who have been diagnosed with cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes. This is because these conditions could increase the risk associated with infection.

If you are concerned about developing an infection after your dental procedure, be sure to talk to your dentist. We can help to ease your fears while also discussing potential treatment or preventative options that could reduce your risks.

Please contact us if you have any questions about antibiotic prophylaxis.

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Bird Family Dentistry
4707 S Junett St
Tacoma, WA 98409
(253) 777-0252

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