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Premedication with Antibiotics

Dr. Howard Kopel, DDS


Many years ago patients were routinely prescribed antibiotics to take before dental procedures if they had heart murmurs or other mild heart conditions. Antibiotics were taken several days before and after dental procedures in these patients.

After many years of research the amount of antibiotics has been reduced to just one dose an hour before dental procedures begin. In addition, no antibiotics are necessary for heart murmurs any more.

Only very serious heart conditions such as congenital heart disease, prosthetic heart valves, certain cardiac transplant patients and patients with previous heart infections are now recommended for prophylactic antibiotics.

Recent studies also indicate that prophylactic antibiotics may not be useful for preventing infections in patients with artificial joint replacements. Because of this, patients who have artificial joints should contact their orthopedic physicians for guidance and prescriptions when possible.

Unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics can lead to bacterial resistance and possible allergic complications and should be avoided if possible.