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By Dr. Charles Bohle and Bohle Family Dentistry
March 22, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Do You Really Need That Antibiotic For Your Dental Appointment?do you really need that antibiotic for your dental appointment

Most patients are really aware that if they have certain types of heart problems that they need to take an antibtiotic before a dental appointment.  These problems inlude having an artifical heart valve or a damaged heart valve from a previous illness.  It used to be that if you had mitral valve prolapse you needed an antibiotic but no more.  You do not need antibiotics if you have a heart murmur or mitral valve prolapse.

Many people come into a dental office asking for antibiotics because they have an articial joint like a knee or hip.  They are very much surprised to learn that the dentist is no longer giving antibiotics for that condition.  In 2012 the (ADA) American Dental Association ruled that there is little evidence that taking an antibiotic before a dental appointment did any good in  protecting your articfial joint from infection.  That means that any bacteria introduced to your system from a dental appointment will not infect your prosthetic joint.  Because there are no good studies supporting that action the ADA ruled that dentists should NOT give antibiotics for most dental patients with artificial joints.  In fact they said the risks involved with taking that medication was greater than not taking it.  Those risks include nausea or severe allergic reaction.  Also it supports you building an antibiotic resistance to certain types of bacteria, making you harder to cure when you truely do need an antibiotic.

I tell my patients that I can no longer give them an antibiotic for their artificial joints but that I do not mind if they want to take something.  I encourage them to contact their physician.  If the physician want them on a certain medication then I do not mind if they give it to them.  It is just that I can no longer do that.  I also do not worry if someone is suppose to be on an antibiotic for a prosthetic joint but forget to take their medication.

I get lots of funny looks from my patients when I tell them about this new policy and I understand why.  If you are used to taking an antibiotic for your dental appointment and then you are told you don't need to, it can be confusing.  Understand that those types of guidelines are reviewed every several years.  Lately the guidelines are leaning to using less and less antibiotics.  I do  agree with them.

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