Dental Health and Endocarditis Prevention
What Dental Procedures Are Antibiotics Recommended For?
The new guidelines suggest preventive treatment for all patients with cardiac conditions listed above, but not for all dental procedures.
The guidelines suggest treatment only:
- During dental procedures that involve manipulation of gingival tissue (around bone and teeth) or the periapical region of teeth (tip of the tooth root)
- When the inside lining of the mouth is perforated
The guidelines do not recommend antibiotics for these dental procedures or events:
- Routine anesthetic injections through noninfected tissue
- Dental X-rays
- Placement of removable prosthodontic or orthodontic appliances
- Adjustment of orthodontic appliances
- Placement of orthodontic brackets
- Shedding of baby teeth
- Bleeding from trauma to the lips or inside of the mouth
Is There Anything Else I Can Do to Lower My Risk for Bacterial Endocarditis?
- Tell your dentist if your health has changed since your last visit. Be sure to let your dentist know if you've had heart or vascular surgery within the past six months. Also report if you have been diagnosed with other heart conditions.
- Make sure your dentist has a complete list of the names and dosages of your medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
- Make sure your dentist has the names and phone numbers of all of your doctors. Your dentist may want to consult with your doctor about your dental care plan and medication choices.
- Practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day; floss at least once daily. Good oral and dental health is very important for patients at risk for endocarditis.
What Are the Symptoms of Endocarditis?
Possible symptoms of endocarditis include:
- Unexplained fever
- Night chills
- Weakness, muscle pain, or joint pain
- Sluggishness (lethargy) or malaise (general ill feeling)
Keep in mind that receiving antibiotics greatly lowers the risk of endocarditis. However, it is not a guarantee. Also keep in mind that most cases of procedure-related endocarditis occur within two weeks of the procedure. So if you have any of these symptoms beyond this time, it is not very likely that you have endocarditis. It is always wise to check with your doctor or dentist if you have any concerns.