What is Antibiotic Prophylaxis?

Posted on 1/20/2015 by Gregory A. Williams
Woman holding a red heart in her handsDental procedures at your Tigard dentist are safe, quick, and comfortable; for most patients, no medication is required. In some cases, however, your medical history may indicate that you would benefit from what's called "Antibiotic Prophylaxis." This will be recommended by Dr. Williams or your physician. But what is it?

Antibiotic prophylaxis is taking antibiotics before a procedure

Why would you need to do this? To understand, we need to take a closer look at your mouth.
Your mouth has over 600 species of bacteria living in it, which is normal. However, a number of dental treatments can allow some of these bacteria to enter the bloodstream, a situation called bacteremia. In most cases, bacteria in your bloodstream is swiftly mitigated by your immune system, which note the "non-self" cells swimming around in your blood and do them in!

For some patients, however, this temporary bacteremia places them at risk for infection elsewhere in their bodies, which can be dangerous.

For whom do we recommend antibiotic prophylaxis?

The primary group of people for whom antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended are patients with specific heart conditions. Discussing your medical history with your Tigard dentist is a key piece of providing top dental care. In cases where your medical history impacts oral care, Dr. Williams works with other members of your healthcare team to ensure that you are receiving the best dental health care.
We benefit from the work of other entities as well when it comes to excellent patient care. The American Heart Association provides guidelines for patients who may need antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Patients who may need antibiotic prophylaxis are people with:
•  A history of infective endocarditis
•  A heart transplant
•  Heart conditions present at birth
•  An artificial heart valve

Previously, experts recommended antibiotic prophylaxis for patients with joint replacements as well, but this recommendation has been reevaluated and is no longer standard procedure. For further questions about these changes, speak with your orthopaedic doctor or your Tigard dentist, who will be up-to-date.

When it comes to excellent healthcare, you're not alone

It may sound intimidating to hear terms like "bacteremia" or if you're not sure what exactly what the heart procedure was that your mother had two years ago– that's totally normal. That's why medical professionals like your Tigard dentist, Dr. Greg Williams, your cardiologist, and primary care provider are trained to work together to make sure your dental care considers health history and its potential risks.

If you or a loved one has had a heart procedure or condition, please talk to us about it at your next appointment, or call ahead of time!

11820 SW King James Pl Ste. 40
Tigard, OR 97224-2481

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Thursday: 7am – 3pm
Friday: Closed

Gregory A. Williams DMD | www.dentistintigard.com | 503-620-2020
11820 SW King James Pl Suite 40 Tigard, OR 97224
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