Do I need antibiotics before dental treatment?

When Antibiotics May Need To Be Taken Before Dental Treatment


Antibiotics can save the day!

If you’ve been told that you need to take antibiotics before starting certain dental treatments such as a root canal or a extraction, thank the bacteria present in your blood stream and mouth.   Any bacteria that find their way to a heart valve, or in rare instances the heart lining, could result in serious inflammation known as infective endocarditis (IE).   IE can lead to potentially life threatening, serious medical outcomes such as valve leakage and in rare cases, heart failure.    Treatment with antibiotics helps stop the bacterial release into your bloodstream.

Stop the Bacteria in Your Mouth

The mouth is ripe with bacteria that thrive on foodstuff and plaque left over after brushing and flossing.   Overall a healthy body can handle the bacteria that is contantly present in your mouth, but sometimes the immune system is comprimised and your body has lost some ability to control the infection.   Your mouth is far mour susceptibale to bacteria entering the bloodstream during dental work, so occasionally your physician may recommend ‘antibiotic prophylaxis’ prior to dental work, the antibiotics are basically taken for preventative reasons, not curative.

Who benefits from antibiotic prophylaxis?

Generally, your dentist may recommend antibiotic prophylaxis if you suffer from a heart problem, such as:

  • the presence of one or more artificial heart valves;
  • a history showing you have suffered from of an infection affecting the heart valves or the lining of the heart which is called infective endocarditis;
  • you have already had a heart transplant and a problem has developed with one of the heart’s valves.

Other situations where prophylaxis may be necessary:

  • a heart condition that has been with you since the day you were born which include cyanotic congenital heart disease, the first 6 months following a heart defect repair using a prosthetic device or material put into place surgically
  • situations where a heart defect has been fixed but there is a residual defect still present at that site or close to a prosthetic device or patch which has been used to undertake the repair.

Dosage of antibiotic prophylaxis

If there is any chance of developing infective endocarditis (IE) during dental treatment the recommended dose of antibiotic prophylaxis is one dose by mouth in a pill or liquid form 1 hour before commencement of the dental treatment and no further doses are required after that.

Talk to your dentist about antibiotic prophylaxis

If you believe you should be taking antibiotic prophylaxis before dental treatment talk to your dentist at McCall Dentures or fill out the form below with any questions.


Yours in better dentures,


Contact us today!

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