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Our mouth is constantly fighting against the harm that oral bacteria can cause. But sometimes these bacteria enter the bloodstream (bacteremia) and create infection in other parts of the body. It is for this reason why dentist sometimes recommend antibiotic prophylaxis.

What Is Antibiotic Prophylaxis?

Antibiotic prophylaxis is premedication. Certain individuals take an antibiotic before a dental procedure in order to reduce their risk for infection. Premedication is recommended before root canal treatment, implant placement, and other dental procedures which involve an incision to the oral tissue.

Who Needs Antibiotic Prophylaxis?

Premedication is only recommended for individuals who have a higher risk for infection because of certain conditions. These conditions include:

  • A history of endocarditis (heart infection)
  • Artificial heart valves
  • A heart transplant where problems developed in the valves
  • Palliative shunts
  • Cyanotic congenital heart disease
  • Defects remaining from a previous heart condition

It is no longer recommended that individuals who have an artificial joint need antibiotic prophylaxis unless they have a weak immune system because of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, etc. If you have a condition where premedication is recommended, ask your dentist about it before undergoing a procedure.