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Do You Need to Take Antibiotics Before a Dental Appointment?

October 4, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — allhappysmiles @ 3:17 am
Antibiotics illustration

Most people have taken antibiotics for one reason or another at some point in their lives. Maybe you were recovering from an ear infection, or you were required to take them after a medical procedure – no matter the circumstances, antibiotics are used to treat and prevent bacterial infections. But did you know they are sometimes utilized in dentistry when patients have medical conditions? Continue reading to learn from your dentist in Westchase about some cases where you may require antibiotics before a dental appointment.

Heart Problems

If you have one of a select list of heart issues, your dentist may ask you to take a course of antibiotics to reduce the effect of complications from a dental visit. The goal is to minimize the risk of developing infective endocarditis which is an infection of the heart’s lining or valves that could be caused by the spread of oral bacteria throughout the body. After all, the mouth is a doorway of sorts. Patients with these conditions may be recommended antibiotics:

  • Prosthetic heart valve
  • History of endocarditis
  • Heart transplants with abnormal heart valve function
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Repaired congenital heart defects with residual effects

Oral Infection

When a dentist detects signs of an acute or chronic infection in the mouth, especially when accompanied by a fever, swelling, or other infection-related symptoms, antibiotics may be prescribed. Tooth infections can occur when bacteria enter a tooth’s root. This results in pain, tissue death, and the buildup of pus. Typically, an infected tooth is treated by antibiotics, root canals, or tooth extractions.

Another type of infection in the mouth is called periodontitis. It is an infection of the gum tissue that can cause gum recession, loose teeth, tooth loss, and bone shrinkage. Sometimes, antibiotic treatment is used to help fight back against infectious bacteria before they can spread to other areas of the body.

What Antibiotics Are Utilized in Dentistry?

There are all sorts of antibiotics out there to help people beat infections. Here are some commonly used in dentistry:

  • Penicillin: This class of antibiotics can treat a wide range of bacterial infections.
  • Amoxicillin: An antibiotic in the penicillin family used to treat a variety of infections.
  • Metronidazole: Antibiotic with antimicrobial properties used to treat ulcerative gingivitis.
  • Erythromycin: Broad-spectrum antibiotic used for patients with penicillin allergies.
  • Sulfonamides: This group of antibiotics interferes with the synthesis of folic acid in bacteria to treat infections.
  • Co-trimoxazole: A combination of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole that stops the growth of bacteria.
  • Cephalosporin: Another antibiotic used when patients are allergic to penicillin.
  • Tetracycline: An antibiotic used to treat a spectrum of infections.

Thanks to antibiotics, so many people can avoid and fight off infections that could eventually become serious. When unsure if you need antibiotics before a dental appointment, it’s worth discussing with your dentist. That way, you can receive dental care with peace of mind!

About the Author

Dr. Mamata Ponnaganti has been working hard for the smiles of her patients for two decades and is a member of the American Dental Association. She earned her dental doctorate from Boston University and has advanced training in numerous services like oral sedation, laser dentistry, dental implant placement/restoration, and Six-Month Smiles. She will be happy to discuss antibiotics in dentistry with you at your next checkup and cleaning, but feel free to call ahead if you currently have heart issues or an oral infection that may necessitate taking them in advance. Schedule an appointment on her website or call (813) 818-4520.

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