Do I need to take antibiotics before my dental appointment?
Like so many things in dentistry, the answer is, it depends. The American Dental Association (ADA) regularly updates its guidelines for antibiotic prophylaxis, or prescribing antibiotics prior to dental work. Let your dentist know your full health history, and he or she will decide whether pre-treatment antibiotics are right for you.
In general, the latest guidelines recommend antibiotic prophylaxis for those who have specific heart conditions, including certain congenital heart issues, artificial heart valves, a history of heart infection, or a heart transplant with which problems have developed in one of the valves. Other heart conditions typically do not require antibiotic prophylaxis.
There are also guidelines for people with orthopedic implants. For the most part, antibiotic prophylaxis is only recommended for those who have an artificial joint or other orthopedic implant along with a condition that compromises the immune system such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, or diabetes.
Whether to prescribe antibiotics before dental treatment is a decision that only your dentist can make. If you do not fall into one of the above categories, though, it is unlikely that you will need pre-treatment antibiotics.
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