In the realm of dental care, the use of antibiotics as a preventive measure before appointments, especially for patients with heart disease, has been a long-standing practice. However, recent developments and research have led to a reassessment of this approach. As an informed and compassionate dental service in Decatur, GA, Metro Decatur Dental Group PC, we stay updated on the latest findings from the American Heart Association and continuously adapt our recommendations to prioritize patient well-being.
In the past, it was customary for heart patients to take antibiotics before any dental visit, including routine cleanings, under the assumption that it would reduce the risk of infections reaching the heart and causing severe complications. This belief was based on the notion that oral bacteria could enter the bloodstream during dental procedures, leading to potential infections. Nevertheless, there was a lack of substantial scientific evidence to support this link between dental treatments and heart infections.
Recent studies have shed light on the potential downsides of overusing preventive antibiotics. Surprisingly, these studies have indicated that the risks of using antibiotics in this manner may outweigh the benefits. Overprescribing antibiotics can lead to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, rendering the antibiotics ineffective in preventing infections, and allowing the bacteria to flourish, increasing the likelihood of severe infections. As responsible dental professionals, we have adapted our practices in light of these new findings, reducing the prescription of preventive antibiotics.
However, it is important to note that certain conditions still warrant the use of antibiotics before dental procedures. Patients with the following conditions may still benefit from such preventive measures:
- Individuals with artificial heart valves
- Those with a history of Infective Endocarditis
- Patients diagnosed with Bicuspid valve disease
- Individuals suffering from Calcified aortic stenosis
- Specific congenital heart conditions
Regardless of your medical condition, we always encourage our patients in Decatur, GA, to consult their cardiologists before their dental appointments to determine the appropriateness of taking antibiotics as a precautionary measure.
At Metro Decatur Dental Group PC, we believe in a holistic approach to oral health. While antibiotics may have their role in certain cases, one of the most effective ways to ward off bacteria and prevent infections is by maintaining good oral hygiene. We emphasize the importance of brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day to keep oral bacteria at bay. Additionally, regular dental check-ups at our welcoming dental office in Decatur, GA, can ensure your mouth remains healthy and at a low risk for infections.