Do you need antibiotics before seeing the dentist?

My mom recently was told by her dental office that due to orthopedic hardware in her ankle she’d need to take antibiotics before  teeth cleanings.  There are guidelines to specifically address this.  And, no antibiotics are needed.

Every time you brush or floss your teeth you are at risk for bacteria spilling into the bloodstream, but antibiotics are not prescribed for the rest of your life.

The use of antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental procedures has NOT been shown to reduce the risk of subsequent total hip or knee infection.  (And, there have been fewer than 25 documented cases of late-onset prosthetic joint infection after dental procedures).  There are no experimental observations suggesting a link between bacteria in the blood brought on from a dental source causing a  prosthetic joint infection.

Because of this, the American Academy of Oral Medicine, the American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons  all do NOT advise that antibiotics be given  before dental procedures (if the goal is solely to prevent  prosthetic joint infections).  This cooperative position statement was published in 2003 per the Journal of  American  Dental  Assoc. 2003;134(7):895.

The issue gets a little hazy regarding TOTAL  joint replacement patients.  Prosthetic joints are considered more problematic if they become infected (as the surgeon may need to take out the joint hardware and replace it) so only in those patients are  antibiotics considered for an orthopedic problem.

Heart conditions are different and may need antibiotics before dental procedures.  This is another discussion altogether.

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About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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