In recent years, using antibiotics as a pre-appointment preventive tool for fighting infection was a common recommendation for dental patients with heart disease. However, with more research evidence emerging, the American Heart Association has revised the recommendations for using antibiotics prior to appointments with your dentist in Memphis.
It used to be common for a heart patient to take antibiotics before any dental appointment, including cleanings, to lower the chance of infection spreading into the heart, which may cause serious problems. It was widely believed that the bacteria in the mouth could enter the bloodstream during a dental procedure and lead to infection. However, there was no scientific evidence to support a link between dental treatments and infection.
Newer studies have shown that the overuse of antibiotics as a precaution to infection could actually do more harm than good. In fact, the new studies illustrate the fact that the risks of taking preventive antibiotics seriously outweigh the benefits. Overprescribing antibiotics could lead to the development of resistant bacteria, which means the antibiotics are ineffective at keeping infection at bay and the bacteria is left to thrive, increasing the possibility for a more serious infection. In light of the new studies, dentists have stopped prescribing preventive antibiotics as much.
Despite fewer patients taking precautionary antibiotics, there are still certain conditions where use of antibiotics is appropriate. These conditions include:
- Artificial heart valves
- A history of Infective Endocarditis
- Bicuspid valve disease
- Calcified aortic stenosis
- Certain congenital heart conditions
No matter if your diagnosis includes one of the above conditions, or if you’re a patient with a different heart condition, we encourage you to always get advice from your cardiologist before your appointment with your Memphis dentist to see if taking an antibiotic is right for you.
One of the best ways to keep bacteria away and infection from occurring is always to make sure you brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. Additionally, regular appointments at our dental office in Memphis can ensure that your mouth is healthy and at a low risk for developing infection.
Serving patients in Memphis, Germantown, and Cordova.