If a patient is suffering from diabetes, has a compromised immune system, or has underlying cardiac problems, your dentist in Deer Park may recommend antibiotic prophylaxis. This is the use of antibiotics before a dental procedure in order to lower the risk of a bacterial infection, and is recommended by both the American Dental Association and the American Heart Association for patients with certain medical conditions. The practice is simply an extra step we take in order to ensure the safety of our patients. It is not something we use all the time because most patients do not need it, but for those who do, it can make all the difference in how they are able to heal from their dental treatment.
Who Needs Antibiotic Prophylaxis?
People who may need antibiotic prophylaxis usually have factors that put them at a higher risk of infection than the general population. These factors include:
- Very young or very old age
- Poor nutrition
- Smoking, or a history of smoking
- Existing infection, even if it is in a different part of the body
- Recent surgery
- Extended hospital stay before the procedure
- Certain congenital heart conditions
- Compromised immune system
- Artificial heart valves
- History of infection in the heart valves
- Heart transplants that have led to problems with the heart valves
You’ve probably noticed that the list seems to emphasize the heart valves. This is because for certain patients, infective endocarditis, or an infection of the heart valves, can be a very grave risk. This infection can become very serious very quickly, so the risk of it is always something we consider if we think a patient may need antibiotic prophylaxis.
How Is It Given?
Most likely, your doctor will prescribe you a pill before your appointment that you will take orally. They may have you continue to take antibiotics afterward in order to be extra cautious. If you forget to take your antibiotics before your procedure, your doctor will simply provide them to you at the office, though you will have to wait a while for them to kick in.
How Do I Know If I Need Antibiotic Prophylaxis?
This will be determined by your doctor. During your initial consultation, they will ask about any existing medical conditions you have, and will decide if you are at a high risk for developing an infection. If they think you are, they will provide you a prescription along with a pre-procedure plan so that you’ll be ready and protected by the time you come in for your treatment.
Afterward, still keep an eye out for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, fever, or pain. If you experience any of these, please be sure to call us immediately.
Have Any Questions?
If you’d like to know more about how we use antibiotic prophylaxis, or want to know if it would be right for you, please give us a call today. We’re always happy to answer any of your questions.