The American Heart Association Guidelines Concerning Pre-Medicating

Many questions have arisen lately concerning the need for taking antibiotics prior to dental procedures.  I’m Dr. Randall LaFrom, a Cupertino and San Jose dentist, and I would like to explain the facts for you.

The American Heart Association updated the guidelines about when and what type of patients need a precautionary antibiotic before dental procedures. The antibiotic is intended to prevent or reduce the risk for infective endocarditis (IE), which is an infection of the heart’s inner lining or the heart valves .

The AHA guidelines, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, are based on scientific proof that shows the risk of taking prophylaxis antibiotics outweighs the benefits for most people. The unnecessary use of antibiotics may cause dangerous antibiotic resistance and/or allergic reactions.  The truth is, vigorous daily brushing is more likely to cause infection in the blood stream – even more so than tooth extraction.

Only people with high risk of developing IE should take short-term preventive antibiotics. This group includes people with:

  • artificial heart valves
  • a history of IE
  • certain specific, serious congenital (present from birth) heart conditions, including:
    – unrepaired or incompletely repaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, including those with palliative shunts and conduits
    – a completely repaired congenital heart defect with prosthetic material or device, whether placed by surgery or by catheter interventions, during the first six months after the procedure
    -any repaired congenital heart defect with residual defect at the site or adjacent to the site of a prosthetic patch or prosthetic device
  • a cardiac transplant which develops a problem in a heart valve.

For more information about preventive antibiotics and dental procedures, please contact me at my office at (408)996-8595. I’ll be happy to discuss the issue and answer all of your questions. If you’re at high risk for IE, as defined in the bullets above, and you need a dentist who is aware of the most recent precautions for your safety, feel free to schedule a consultation at LaFrom Dentistry. I’m accepting new patients now, and you’re sure to enjoy my inviting, state-of-the-art office.

~ by cupertinodentist on February 6, 2011.

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