Patients with existing heart conditions or recent heart surgeries are recommended to take antibiotics before certain dental procedures. This extra step is often recommended to help prevent normal bacteria (that we usually have in our mouths) from integrating into the bloodstream of a patient whose immune system may be functioning differently than normal.
This kind of precaution is referred to as “antibiotic prophylaxis.” The American Heart Association has guidelines to help identify those who may need antibiotics before dental treatment. Patients with the following conditions should be considered for antibiotic prophylaxis:
- artificial heart valves
- history of heart-related infections
- heart transplant
- congenital heart disease, heart defects, or heart device defects
It is imperative that a patient’s medical history reflects everything going on in their lives so that they are safe in the dental chair. If your or a loved one have heart-related conditions or procedures that have been done, make sure to tell your dentist so that all dental visits are worry-free.