There is a great deal of controversy over the use of antibiotics in dentistry and more broadly, its overuse by the medical community at large. The administration of unnecessary antibiotics can lead to allergic reactions or other complications that result in emergency room visits. According to one study, researchers found that 4% of those who received antibiotics prior to treatment suffered allergic reactions or other complications that required emergency room visits. The aforementioned study was performed in conjunction with another study that found that 81% of antibiotics prescribed during dental procedures were unnecessary.
Will a dentist give me antibiotics?
Not necessarily. In fact, only a small fraction of individuals who have dental procedures should be given antibiotics. However, in years past, medical agencies such as the ADA, AAOS, and AHA have recommended antibiotic treatments for a larger percentage of patients. Due to risks associated with antibiotics, the list of those who require them prior to dental procedures grows slimmer each year.
Today, antibiotics are given to those with chronic cardiac conditions that put them at greater risk for developing infective endocarditis, an infection in the heart valves. The recommendation has been scaled back to include only those who are at the greatest risk of serious harm caused by the disease.
The risks versus the rewards
Essentially, this is a major issue because the prevailing medical science wanted to err on the side of caution and hence prescribe antibiotics to patients if it even appeared that they could develop a serious infection. Today, we still make decisions that err on the side of caution, but we also recognize that the risk associated with antibiotics may be greater than any potential reward.
In the past, it was common for dentists to prescribe antibiotics to those who had hip or joint replacements. It was believed that they stood a greater risk of infection. However, infections aren’t necessarily the worst medical events you can suffer. Allergic reactions to medicine can often be fatal.
In each case, your dentist will review your medical history to determine if you are in the risk group for developing the most severe complications related to infective endocarditis. If it is determined that you are at increased risk, you will be given one of two potential antibiotics prior to your dental procedure to help boost your immune system while you’re recovering.
Today, however, it is quite rare for dentists to prescribe antibiotics prior to tooth extractions and other invasive procedures. The most recent data indicates that antibiotics are at best not useful, and at worst, potentially dangerous. So they should only be prescribed in cases where the risk to the patient is the greatest.
Talk to a Flagstaff, AZ Dentist Today
If you have any concerns about your current health conditions and how dental treatment will impact them, don’t hesitate to call Peak Family Dental Care in Flagstaff today. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.