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Why Do I Have to Take Antibiotics Before I Visit the Dentist?

Posted on 5/15/2024 by Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry
Photo of doctor holding medication after their patient made an appointment at Jason Widner DMD Family Dentistry in Sammamish, WAIf our dentist has told you that you need to take antibiotics for a day or two before your teeth and gums are cleaned and checked, there is a good reason why you should listen. Many patients have to take antibiotics before any dental procedure, from teeth cleaning to cavity filling to root canals. Here is an explanation of why you may need to take a course of antibiotics.

What Are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are a class of drugs that fight and kill bacteria in your body. They were invented in the early 20th century but did not become mainstream until after World War II. Before antibiotics were invented, children and adults died from diseases we simply take an antibiotic for today, such as strep throat, ear infections, and pneumonia. Antibiotics allow us to live longer, more productive lives.

Who Needs to Take Antibiotics Before They Visit the Dentist?

Before 2010, entire groups of people, such as people with joint replacements, needed to take antibiotics before they visited the dentist. However, the guidelines from both the American Dental Association and the American Heart Association have changed over the years. Also, many people are concerned that the overuse of antibiotics will lead to more diseases becoming antibiotic-resistant.

While many people no longer have to take antibiotics before a dental visit, there are still millions of patients who need a course of antibiotics to ensure their safety during dental procedures. If you had a heart valve replaced with a prosthetic, a heart transplant, or a congenital heart defect, you need to take antibiotics before your visit. Most dentists recommend you begin a course of antibiotics at least two days before and two days after your visit. That way, any bacteria that makes its way into your bloodstream will be killed off by the medicine.

If you have questions about your heart disease and dental health or want more information about taking antibiotics, we are here to help. Why not contact us today so we can set up an appointment for you with our dentist?
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