Do you need to take antibiotics before your procedure?

Antibiotics are medicines that treat bacterial infections. If you are scheduled for an upcoming dental surgery or procedure, your dentist may administer antibiotic anaphylaxis, the taking of antibiotics before any type of work which has the potential to release large amounts of bacteria into the bloodstream.

Dental procedures that cause excess bleeding, such as tooth extractions and root canals have the potential to release bacteria from the mouth into the bloodstream, potentially causing infections and other illnesses to develop. Certain patients are considered more at risk than others to develop life-threatening conditions as a result of these infections.

In the past, dentists prescribed the use of antibiotics much more often before dental procedures. Recent findings on the possible complications of antibiotic use, many are beginning to weigh the benefits of antibiotic anaphylaxis against the risks to determine if this protocol is right for their patients. Some patients with heart issues and those with artificial limbs and joints are at greatest risk for infection and disease, while for others, this protocol has been deemed unnecessary.

Current guidelines are that antibiotics are recommended for a small number of people who have specific heart conditions. The American Heart Association has guidelines identifying people who should take antibiotics prior to dental care. Learn more about them here.

Guidelines have also been revised for people with orthopedic implants such as artificial joints. Learn more about why the ADA and American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons updated the recommendations and no longer recommend antibiotics for everyone with artificial joints.

Always discuss any medical issues with your dental professional that may possibly require taking antibiotics before your procedure.