Are Antibiotics Necessary before Oral Surgery?

Is oral surgery in your future?

You may have heard that some patients require a course of antibiotics prior to their surgery to help prevent infection. Will you be required to do this as well?

oral surgery antibiotics

The chances are good that you won’t have to undergo antibiotic treatment before your procedure. A recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) study determined that preventive antibiotics can do more harm than good in healthy patients. In addition, the American Dental Association (ADA) only recommends precautionary antibiotics for a patients with specific medical conditions.

ADA Guidelines for Oral Surgery Patients with Joint Implants

Historically, dental patients with prosthetic joint implants have been advised to take antibiotics prophylactically to prevent infection in the joint. However, in a review of the research, an ADA expert panel found no link between dental procedures and artificial joint infections.

Consequently, ADA guidelines state that preventive antibiotics are not automatically recommended for joint implant patients. However, anyone who has had previous medical issues related a prosthetic joint may still be required to undergo a pre-surgery antibiotic regimen.

ADA Guidelines for Oral Surgery Patients with Heart Conditions

Patients with heart conditions often assume that a course of antibiotics will be necessary before an oral or dental procedure, as they’ve been told they are at risk for infective endocarditis.

However, the ADA, along with the American Heart Association (AHA), has determined that precautionary antibiotics are generally only appropriate for a small subgroup of heart patients. Guidelines suggest antibiotics for patients with prosthetic cardiac valve repair, a history of infective endocarditis or heart valve disease after a cardiac transplant. Some congenital heart conditions also call for a round of antibiotics before oral and dental procedures.

Medical Conditions that May Require Antibiotics Before Oral Surgery

Patients with certain medical conditions may have a higher chance of developing an infection after oral surgery.

Preventive antibiotics may be advised for anyone with a health issue that affects the immune system, as those patients cannot fight off infection as easily. This includes patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, insulin-dependent diabetes and hemophilia.

Some medications can also suppress the immune system and increase the likelihood of infection after oral surgery. Patients on steroid drugs, including corticosteroids and asthma inhalers that contain synthetic steroids, may need precautionary antibiotics. Patients who take certain heartburn, cholesterol, depression or pain medications may also require antibiotics before undergoing a dental procedure.

The ADA encourages oral surgeons and dental professionals to consider their guidelines, but recommends that treatment be tailored to meet the patient’s specific needs.

The experienced surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah have the expertise to determine whether you will need preventive antibiotics. With convenient office locations in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele, we look forward to serving all of your family’s oral surgery and health needs.