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Who should take antibiotics before going to the dentist?

The American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines recommend antibiotics before going to the dentist for patients who would be in the most danger if they developed a heart infection.

Taking antibiotics before dental treatment is advised for patients with:

  • artificial heart valves
  • a history of infective endocarditis (IE)—a rare but serious infection of the heart's inner lining or valves
  • certain specific, serious congenital heart conditions, including:
    • unrepaired or incompletely repaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, including those with palliative shunts and conduits
    • a completely repaired congenital heart defect with prosthetic material or device, whether placed by surgery or by catheter intervention, during the first six months after the procedure
    • any repaired congenital heart defect with residual defect at the site or adjacent to the site of a prosthetic patch or a prosthetic device
  • a cardiac transplant that develops a problem in a heart valve

The recommendations apply to such common dental procedures as teeth cleaning and extractions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.