The mouth is packed with various strains of bacteria, which in a healthy individual maintain optimal oral health. During daily routines like chewing, brushing or flossing, the bacteria can enter the blood stream but don’t present a problem for most of us when the immune system is healthy. In compromised health, bacteremia (bacteria entering blood stream) can cause infections elsewhere in the body.
Specific heart conditions and orthopedic implants such as artificial joints have known to be the more vulnerable sites for potential infections.
Antibiotic prophylaxis, or preventative use of antibiotics prior to a dental visit is recommended in conditions like-
-Artificial heart valves
-History of infection of the lining of the heart or heart valves known as Infective Endocarditis
-A heart transplant
-Congenital heart conditions like Cyanotic congenital heart disease
-Defects repaired with a prosthetic device
The criteria for antibiotic prophylaxis is periodically updated by the American Heart Association and the American Dental Association depending on current research and development. Currently, the AHA recommends prophylactic antibiotics only on patients with a history of endocardial bacterial endocarditis.
American Associations of Orthopedic Surgeons in their revised guidelines no longer recommend antibiotics for patients with artificial joints.
In an abundance of caution, our office coordinates with the patient’s physician to determine the appropriate antibiotic protocol.
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