If your dentist recommends any sort of oral surgery, you might hear the term “antibiotic prophylaxis” being used. This refers to the administration of antibiotics before the procedure, and it’s aimed at preventing infection developing from the contamination caused by the surgery.
Antibiotic prophylaxis isn’t necessary for everyone, or for every type of procedure, but you are most likely to need it if the following scenarios apply.
The reason behind taking these precautions is that patients in either of these situations may have a higher risk of developing a bacterial infection, but this depends entirely on your individual circumstances.
In the event that your particular situation calls for antibiotic prophylaxis, here’s what you can expect. Your oral surgeon will require a complete medical history, including details of former surgeries and any complications you’ve experienced as a result. He or she may consult with the surgeon who performed your previous procedures, and depending on the outcome of their findings you will most likely be prescribed a dosage of ampicillin or amoxicillin, which are commonly used for dental prophylaxis.
The antibiotics usually come in the form of tablets that you take about 30 minutes before the procedure. Alternatively, if your proposed dental procedure is fairly major, the surgeon might choose to give them intravenously before or during the procedure.
In recent years, evidence has shown that dental procedures don’t have the previously-believed connection with joint implant infections, and that antibiotic prophylaxis doesn’t always prevent infection. In addition, risks such as the potential for antibiotic resistance and opportunistic infections like C-difficile often outweigh the benefits, so this measure is being used less now than in the past. Rest assured that if your dentist prescribes antibiotic prophylaxis for you, it’s because they believe you really need it and will benefit from having it. Be sure to tell the dental surgeon about all medications, vitamins and supplements you take and whether you have any allergies to antibiotics, to avoid being prescribed something that won’t agree with you.
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