Who and Why Needs Premedication Prior to Dental Appointments?

Before invasive dental treatments, patients who have certain heart conditions and those with artificial joints should take antibiotics. This is because they are in danger of developing an infection in the heart or at the side of the artificial joint, respectively. Antibiotics reduce this risk. Taking antibiotics before dental invasive procedures is termed antibiotic prophylaxis.

When treating patients with heart conditions, dentists follow recommendations developed by the American Heart Association (AHA), with input from the ADA. For patients who have total joint replacements, they refer to recommendations developed by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Listed are the most often encountered conditions that require antibiotic premedicating:

  • artificial heart valves
  • a history of infective endocarditis (IE)
  • a cardiac transplant that develops a heart valve problem
  • some congenital (present from birth) heart conditions
  • all patients with prosthetic joint replacement
  • immunosuppressed patients

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