Are Antibiotics Necessary Before Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery? 

Some oral and maxillofacial surgery patients are required to take antibiotics before their procedure to help ward off infection. For other patients, however, antibiotics aren’t recommended.

Most patients won’t need to take a course of antibiotics before their procedure. Research shows that if you’re relatively healthy, preventive antibiotics may do more harm than good.

antibiotics oral surgery

However, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends pre-procedure antibiotics for patients with certain health issues.

If You Have a Joint Implant

In the past, oral and maxillofacial surgeons almost always told patients with artificial joint implants to take a course of antibiotics before any medical procedure. Doing so was thought to help prevent infection in the joint.

But the ADA now says that there’s no link between artificial joint infections and dental procedures — therefore, preventive antibiotic treatment is no longer universally recommended for patients with joint implants. Pre-procedure antibiotics are only advised for people who’ve experienced previous issues related to the artificial joint.

If You Have a Heart Condition

People who have heart conditions are at risk of contracting infective endocarditis. Because of this, heart patients often assume a course of preventive antibiotics is a must.

However, the ADA and the American Heart Association (AHA) have both determined that pre-procedure antibiotic treatment is only necessary for a small number of heart patients. The current guidelines recommend antibiotics for anyone with prosthetic cardiac valve repair and people with a history of heart valve disease or infective endocarditis following a cardiac transplant. In addition, antibiotic treatment is advised for some patients with congenital heart conditions.

If You Have Another Medical Condition

After an oral and maxillofacial procedure, patients with certain medical conditions face a greater risk of developing an infection. For that reason, preventive antibiotics are often recommended for patients who suffer from health issues that affect the immune system, including:

  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • HIV
  • Hemophilia
  • Insulin-dependent diabetes

Certain medications suppress immune system function, so taking them increases the likelihood of infection after oral and maxillofacial surgery. Preventive antibiotics are recommended for some, including:

  • Pain-management patients
  • People who rely on steroids, including asthma inhalers
  • Patients who take medication for the treatment of heartburn, depression or high cholesterol

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons consider current treatment guidelines when planning any procedure. However, treatment is always tailored to meet each patient’s individual needs. Consequently, there’s a chance you may need to take a course of preventive antibiotics.

To determine whether you’ll need antibiotic treatment before your procedure, consult the professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield have the expertise to determine if taking a course of preventive antibiotics is in your best interest. And with three northern Utah offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele, visiting the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah team is both easy and convenient. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.