Our mouths contain lots of bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. For most healthy Hendricks County residents, this bacterium doesn’t cause any serious problems. However, for some people who have specific heart conditions or who have replacement joints and compromised immune systems, these bacteria can lead to serious issues if it gets into their bloodstream. Therefore, they may require antibiotic pre-medication, also called antibiotic prophylaxis, prior to receiving dental treatment to prevent bacteria from entering their bloodstream.
During certain dental procedures, such as teeth cleanings, tooth extractions, cavity work, and root canals, bacteria may enter the bloodstream through abrasions or cuts in the gums or mucous membranes in the mouth. Bacteremia, or a buildup of bacteria in the bloodstream, can cause an infection to develop elsewhere in the body.  
Recommendations for Heart Patients 
In individuals with certain cardiac conditions, infective endocarditis (a serious inflammation of the heart’s inner linings or valves) may develop. Infective endocarditis has the potential to cause life-threatening medical problems, like heart failure or leakage of the heart valves.
According to the American Heart Association, if you have the following heart conditions, you should take an antibiotic prior to dental care:

  • An artificial heart valve.
  • A history of infective endocarditis.
  • A heart transplant that developed a problem with a heart valve.
  • Specific congenital (present from birth) heart conditions, such as unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease; a defect that’s repaired with a prosthetic material or device (for up to six months following the repair); or a repaired heart defect with a residual defect remaining.  

Recommendations for Patients with Artificial Joints
For all individuals (including Hendricks County residents) who have artificial joints, the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons no longer recommend the use of antibiotics prior to dental visits.
However, if you’re an individual who has an artificial joint and a compromised immune system due to cancer, diabetes, lupus or other medical conditions, antibiotic prophylaxis may be recommended to prevent infections from settling in your artificial joint.
When You Make Your Appointment
If you’re one of these high-risk patients, when you schedule your appointment at Danville Family Dentistry in Hendricks County, tell our staff that you have a cardiac condition or an artificial joint and a compromised immune system that may require antibiotic pre-medication. Our office will contact your doctor to determine if you require antibiotic prophylaxis. Also, talk to Dr. Jon Erickson at Danville Family Dentistry if you have any questions about preventive antibiotics.