It is very common for you to be told that you must consume antibiotics before visiting a dentist. While this was a very common habit before, in the last few years, this practice has declined to a great extent. Generally, if a person is asked to take small dose of antibiotics before visiting his dentist, it is known as antibiotic prophylaxis.
How have times changed?
The American Heart Association, or the AHA, for years has maintained that people who suffer from a few heart problems must take antibiotics for a short period of time before paying their dentist a visit. This is because taking such medicines helps prevent chances of developing endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart’s lining and valves.
However, research has now shown that having these medicines don’t necessarily reduce your chances of developing endocarditis. Moreover, just because one is visiting the dentists, one doesn’t automatically develop high chances of having such problems.
So, do I need antibiotics?
According to health experts, if you suffer from one of the following heart problems, you don’t need to put yourself on antibiotics before going to a dental clinic:
- Calcified aortic stenosis
- Mitral valve prolapse
- Bicuspid valve disease
- Rheumatic heart disease
- A ventricular or an atrial septal defect.
There are exceptions, of course!
The AHA also recommends that some people might have a very bad reaction if they develop endocarditis after visiting their respective dentist. To prevent such unpleasant accidents from happening, the AHA suggests that if you suffer from one of the following problems then having a tiny dose of antibiotics would be the right thing to do:
- A heart transplant earlier, when there are problems with a heart valve.
- An artificial heart valve
- Some specific heart problems, like unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart problem.
It’s not just limited to heart problems. Even if you have had a joint replacement surgery, such as hip replacement or a knee replacement, you have very high chances of developing a bad infection if you undergo a dental treatment afterwards. It is advised that you open up to your dentist and ask him if you need to undergo antibiotic prophylaxis.
In general, whenever you visit your dentists, or an orthodontist, the best idea would be to disclose all information regarding your health. Any previous surgeries, allergies, or heart ailments and any other issues that you are aware of, must not be concealed from your dentist at any cost.
A good dentist, on knowing all your health details, will suggest you take a small dose of antibiotics before your next visit, if he feels it is necessary. Otherwise, on an average, most of the people who are visiting a dentist don’t really need to consume any antibiotics.
As mentioned earlier, that was an essential practice in the earlier days, but, with changing times and rapid development in science and technology, it has been discovered, that consuming antibiotics don’t put you much at an advantage just because you are visiting your dentist.