Why Antibiotics Before a Cleaning Appointment

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Precautions for Patients with Heart Disease or Murmurs

The American Heart Association cautions that you may need to take antibiotics before having your teeth cleaned or being treated for other dental conditions.

Several heart conditions can be affected by dental procedures. You have indicated on your DentFirst Medical History form that you have had one of the following: heart murmurs, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, angina (chest pain from narrowed arteries in your heart), rheumatic fever, artificial heart valve, heart pacemaker, bypass surgery or vascular surgery, mitral valve prolapse or a recent prosthetic joint replacement.

Some forms of these conditions may be affected by the stress of dental procedures or certain electrical equipment used in the office. Bacteria normally present in your mouth may result in other bodily infections if appropriate antibiotics are not used.

Of particular concern is a serious infection of the heart valves or the tissues lining the heart called bacterial endocarditis. It occurs rarely but is possible in patients who have structural abnormalities of the heart, artificial heart valves or who have had certain types of vascular surgery.

Bacteria normally present in your mouth can sometimes spread to other places in your body as a result of certain dental procedures. The American Dental Association and the American Heart Association recommend that your dentist review your medical history and possible prescribe antibiotics before performing certain dental procedures for you.

To protect yourself from infection and other unnecessary dangers you should keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible by proper brushing and flossing. Make sure that you always note on your Medical History form that you have a heart problem. Finally carefully follow your doctor’s instructions if you receive an antibiotic prescription.

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