Antibiotics are usually used to treat infections that have already taken root in your body. However, there are situations where antibiotics are used to prevent possible infections; in this case, they are known as prophylactic antibiotics.
Therefore, if you have a high chance of developing a bacterial infection during a dental procedure, then you may be advised to take a prophylactic antibiotic first. You have a high risk of developing a bacterial infection during a dental procedure if you have:
An Artificial Joint
After having a joint replacement surgery, there is a risk that oral bacteria may find its way into your bloodstream and settle around the replaced joint. To make matters worse, bacteria in that part of the body isn't easy to treat with antibiotics; further surgery may be necessary.
The risk of oral bacteria entering the bloodstream is high during a dental procedure. Therefore, you may be advised to take prophylactic antibiotics before a dental procedure such as an implant. Note that this advice is only applicable to dental procedures that cause bleeding in the mouth.
It is for this reason that you may be advised to take care of all your dental problems before getting an artificial joint. However, if the dental problem arises after the joint surgery, then you have no option but to take care of it too.
Note that some people with artificial joints may not need the prophylactic antibiotics. The treatment may only be necessary for those with heightened risks of infections, for example, those who have other health conditions such as diabetes and compromised immune systems.
Certain Heart Conditions
The heart is a very sensitive organ, and care must be taken to prevent any infection that it might develop. Certain heart conditions increase the risk of bacterial infections in the tissues of the heart. For example, people with weakened heart valves have a heightened risk of infection because the blood does not flow efficiently through such valves, it takes longer to flow through, which gives bacteria (in the blood) time to attack the heart muscles.
Such cases may be rare, but they are serious when they do occur. For this reason, those who have undergone valve replacement surgery or have congenital heart problems require prophylactic antibiotic treatment before dental procedures. Your doctors will advise you on whether you need the treatment.
Undergone Organ Transplant
If you have a foreign organ in your body, then you are likely to be on anti-rejection drugs. These are drugs that help your body to accept the foreign tissues as its own. Unfortunately, one side effect of these drugs is that they weaken your immune system. With a weakened immune system, your body may not be able to fight off bacterial infections effectively. This is especially true if your organ transplant has developed some complications. For this reason, you may be given prophylactic antibiotics before major dental procedures.
Not everybody with these health conditions require prophylactic antibiotics. Your medical team will advise you on whether or not you need the treatment. It's imperative to follow the guidelines to the letter, which means you shouldn't take the antibiotics if you haven't been advised to do so. Contact an oral surgeon like Miller Kenneth G for more information.