Do you suffer from a serious heart condition? Are you in need of tooth extraction in Phoenix? This type of dental procedure, although commonly performed with few post-operative risks, can become problematic if you do not take the right precautions beforehand. To avoid the potential for infective endocarditis (IE), it is advised that you take short-term antibiotics prior to dental surgery. A local dentist explains the evolution of the recommendation and why this proactive step can prove beneficial to your oral and overall health.
Why the Recommendation for Antibiotics?
For years, individuals with various heart conditions were recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) to take preventive antibiotics (also known as antibiotic prophylaxis) before any type of dental procedure. Why? Because it was believed there was an increased risk of exposure to oral bacteria that could cause IE, which is an infection within the heart’s lining or valves.
After much research, experts are now saying antibiotic prophylaxis is only necessary for individuals with certain heart conditions, such as:
- Having artificial heart valves
- A history of IE
- Specific congenital heart problems (from birth)
- Those who have received a cardiac transplant that develops into a problem with the heart valve
The reason for the newly revised guidelines is that there is evidence that preventive antibiotics can do more harm than good. From adverse reactions to oral bacteria that are resistant to the various types of prophylaxis provided, researchers claim that IE will be more likely to occur because of a person’s normal daily routine than while undergoing a common dental procedure.
The Connection Between Dental Procedures and the Heart
When preparing to undergo a dental procedure like a tooth extraction, there may be much bleeding involved. Because bacteria can be easily released into the bloodstream when the removal of a tooth occurs, this puts an individual, specifically with a heart condition, at greater risk for developing an infection elsewhere throughout the body. In most situations, a person’s immune system will begin to attack the bacteria and eliminate it; however, by having an individual take antibiotic prophylaxis before this type of procedure, it can greatly reduce the risk.
This is why it is vital to discuss your health and medical history with your dentist in Phoenix. Not only is it necessary for them to know what problems or conditions you currently suffer from, but you should also divulge any medications you are taking to avoid a potential reaction should you be prescribed a preventive antibiotic.
About the Author
Dr. John Ludu is a dentist in Phoenix who achieved his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry before going on to earn his doctorate at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Undergoing various specialty education courses, he has more than two and a half decades of dentistry experience. Dr. Ludu and the dental experts at Devoted Family Dental believe in making sure all patients are safe and healthy before, during, and after a visit. If you are preparing to undergo any type of dental procedure and have a heart condition, contact us at (623) 444-6222 to learn why you should begin a round of antibiotics.