Should You Take An Antibiotic Before A Dental Procedure?

The mouth is full of bacteria which are necessary for our health. However, these bacteria can also be detrimental to our health. If bacteria enter the bloodstream and cannot be fought off by the immune system, they can create infection in other parts of the body. This can happen specifically during a dental procedure, which is why premedication is suggested for certain people.

What Is Premedication?

In the dental field, premedication is called antibiotic prophylaxis. This involves taking an antibiotic before (or immediately after) certain dental procedures to prevent the risk of infection if bacteria gets into the blood stream.

When Is Premedication Done?

Antibiotic prophylaxis is done during procedures which involve incisions made to the gums, periapical region (which is around the tooth root), and other oral tissues. These procedures include:

  • Implant placement
  • Tooth extractions
  • Root canal treatment
  • Oral surgery

Who Should Premedicate?

Premedicating before dental procedures is most often recommended for individuals who have problems with their heart. These heart conditions include:

  • Artificial heart valves
  • A history of infection in the heart (endocarditis)
  • A heart transplant complicated by valve problems
  • Unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease
  • Palliative shunts
  • Residual defects from a prior heart condition

Antibiotic prophylaxis also used to be recommended for individuals who had a joint replacement; however, this is no longer practiced unless the individual has a weakened immune system due to diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.