What is an antibiotic premed?
Antibiotic premedication, also called antibiotic prophylaxis, is a single, large dose of antibiotics taken before a procedure in an attempt to prevent an infection from starting. Because the mouth is full of bacteria, dental procedures that cause bleeding may give bacteria access to the bloodstream. As these bacteria are always present in your body, this is generally not a concern for healthy people. However, for some individuals who are at increased risk for infection, an antibiotic premedication may be prescribed to reduce the risk of further complications developing.
Do I need to take a premed?
Currently the American Dental Association (ADA), in collusion with the American Heart Association (AHA), recommends routine antibiotic prophylaxis only for the following heart conditions:
Artificial heart valves.
A history of an infection of the lining of the heart or heart valves known as infective endocarditis.
A heart transplant in which a problem develops with one of the valves inside the heart.
Heart conditions that are present from birth, such as:
Unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, including people with palliative shunts and conduit.
Defects repaired with a prosthetic material or device—whether placed by surgery or catheter intervention—during the first six months after repair.
Cases in which a heart defect has been repaired, but a residual defect remains at the site or adjacent to the site of the prosthetic patch or prosthetic device used for the repair.
Previously, it was recommended that individuals with artificial joints, such as knee and hip replacements, premedicate before dental procedures for life. However, this is no longer the case. In general, dentists now defer to the surgeon responsible for the joint replacement on a case-by-case basis as to whether antibiotics are recommended before dental procedures for a specific patient.
If you are unsure if you need to premedicate before dental procedures, please consult with your dentist or physician. As always, it is important to keep your medical history up-to-date and to inform your dentist of any changes since your last visit.
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