A Closer Look at Antibiotics in Dentistry

At Pickering Square Dental, your dentist provides dental procedures that are safe and comfortable; and for most patients, medication is not necessary. However, there are cases wherein the patient’s medical history indicates that he or she would benefit from what is known as “antibiotic prophylaxis”.

What is Antibiotic Prophylaxis?

Basically, it means taking preventative antibiotics before a procedure. To help you understand this better, let’s go and pay closer attention to what goes on inside your mouth.

There are more or less 600 species of bacteria living inside your mouth, and that is normal. But there are some dental treatments that can allow some of these bacteria to reach your bloodstream. This situation is called bacteremia. Usually, bacteria in the bloodstream are quickly mitigated by the immune system which recognizes those “non-self” cells that are in your blood and zap them.

Unfortunately for some patients, bacteremia can put them at risk for other infections in their bodies which can be dangerous.

Who Needs Antibiotic Prophylaxis?

Antibiotic prophylaxis is primarily recommended for patients with certain heart conditions and some transplant situations. That is why it is important that you discuss your medical history with your Pickering Square Dental dentist so we’d know how we can provide you with the best dental care possible. In certain cases where a patient’s medical history affects oral care, your dentist can work with other professionals in your healthcare team.

Patients who may require antibiotic prophylaxis are people who have had:

  • A heart transplant
  • A history of infective endocarditis
  • An artificial heart valve
  • Heart conditions since birth
  • Some transplant situations

It was previously recommended by experts that patients with joint replacements get antibiotic prophylaxis, too, but this has been re-evaluated and is no longer considered standard procedure. If you have further inquiries about these changes, you might want to speak to your orthopaedic doctor. Of course, you can also reach out to your Pickering Square Dental dentist who is up-to-date about these matters.

We know that the terms bacteremia and antibiotic prophylaxis can be quite intimidating or even scary. But it’s always better to know and understand what they really mean. If you or a loved one needs a dental procedure and you are not sure whether or not antibiotic prophylaxis would be necessary, don’t be afraid to ask about it. You can have a conversation about it with your trusted dentist, and we’re sure your primary care provider or your cardiologist, specialists or physician would be willing to answer your questions, too. Together, we can ensure that the dental procedures that you’ll have will always take your health history into consideration and we’ll make certain that we will not put you in any risks.



We are accepting new patients! Pickering Square Dental continues to grow and continues to accept new patients. If you are considering a new dentist for you and your family, we invite you to stop by to meet our team and take a tour of our office or to schedule an appointment.