Heart conditions and structural defects also increase the risk of developing a heart valve infection called endocarditis, after dental procedures. Bacterial endocarditis can occur when bacteria travel through the bloodstream to the heart and colonize there. Bacteria circulate in the bloodstream and should flow through smoothly when they reach the heart. But any heart abnormalities can potentially cause bacteria to cling on and ignite infection. This is why antibiotics are given to patients with heart conditions before dental procedures with high bleeding potential (extractions, root canals, scaling and root planing, implant placements, even standard cleaning on certain bleeding-prone patients) -- it’s done to stave off infection.
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