The importance to premedicate before a dentist visit or doctor visit may not be as widespread as it once was, according to a study by the American Heart Association and the American Dental Association.
Previously, patients with cardiac conditions or recent surgery were required to premedicate before any dental procedure, even something as simple as teeth cleaning. To premedicate, the patient must take antibiotics, like Amoxicillin, about an hour before the dental treatment to prevent bacteria from entering the bloodstream through the procedure and traveling to the heart, greatly endangering the patient, the American Dental Association says.
The study says that the bacteria that could potentially enter the bloodstream through dental procedures is already in the mouth, and the patient is already at risk before any dental treatment occurs. The infection, Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis, occurs when the bacteria from the mouth travels through the bloodstream and causes infection and growths inside the heart, according to HealthCentral.com. This complication can become fatal within 6 weeks to a year if not treated, HealthCentral.com says. It generally is only a great risk for those with damaged cardiac valves. In these cases one would be advised to premedicate before their medical visit.
The ADA and the AHA published the latest guidelines for the premedication procedure in 2007, which states that only those at the greatest risk for complications need to premedicate.
Those at greatest risk include those with a history of infective cardiac diseases, those with artificial cardiac valves, those with serious cardiac problems from birth and those with heart transplants that develop problems, the AHA says. These patients are strongly advised to premedicate before any dental treatment. To premedicate properly the patient should check with his or her dentist and regular physician.
Always check with your doctor and your dentist to determine if you need to premedicate before a dental procedure.