antibiotics

While we can understand the comment, ‘people are people’ when it comes to generalizations, here at Southeast Family Dental, our dental professionals go by the premise that each and every patient is unique. Not only do we believe that to be true of people, we know it is especially important for them in regard to dental services and the prevention of infection in connection with dental work.

For example, in the past, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommended the wider use of antibiotics for patients undergoing dental procedures. Prior to a change to those guidelines in 2012 by the ADA and the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, it was suggested that most joint replacement patients employ a regimen of premedication antibiotics prior to dental work to prevent infection. In 2012 the experts recommended against antibiotic prophylaxis (or premedication) for ALL persons who have had replacement joints implanted.

Who Could Benefit from Antibiotic Prophylaxis?

Infection is still a concern so this change in expert findings does not preclude antibiotic premedication in all instances. There are conditions for certain people in which the premedication is still necessary. Some of those might include:

  • Patients with weak or compromised immune systems
  • Patients with certain heart conditions
  • Patients with heart valve replacement
  • Patients who are diabetic
  • Patients who have cancer, who are undergoing chemotherapy
  • Patients with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Patients who are chronic steroid users

Even with antibiotic premedication there is no guarantee that you can prevent infection. People with only a 1% chance of infection can still get an infection. And that goes back to every person and situation being unique in itself. Especially because we provide such a wide variety of services at Southeast Family Dental, we take into consideration all the elements in a patient’s health and dental needs in order to make the most beneficial recommendations to our patients—including whether or not premedication with antibiotics is advisable in their specific case.

The notion of whether or not antibiotics are needed before dental work is re-evaluated every few years by the ADA and other expert groups. That means the recommendations can change, but based on existing information, this is the most current recommendation for dental practices on pre-medicating with antibiotics to prevent infection.

As always, if you are unsure whether you should take antibiotics before your dental appointment, consult with your dentist.