Are you a patient who is soon to undergo a procedure from an oral surgeon in Chicago? If so, then we have good news: it may not be necessary for you to take an antibiotic ahead of time. The change stems from updated rules issued by the American Heart Association (AHA) intended to curb the over usage of antibiotics. This should come as a welcome change for people who, for medical or personal reasons, are hesitant to take pre-surgical medications.
A Response to a Growing Problem
You’ve probably read or seen news stories about the growing problem in our society with antibiotic over usage. Modern antibiotics were hailed as a near-miracle when they were first introduced in 1920s. Before the age of antibiotics, common bacterial infections could lead to prolonged sickness, disability, or even death. Sir Alexander Fleming, who pioneered early research into penicillin, received the Nobel prize in 1945 for his work in saving millions from the consequences of infectious diseases.
Unfortunately, our microscopic enemies are masters at adapting to antibiotics. This has led to a medical arms race between human beings and disease causing bacteria. Part of the reason for this crisis has been the excessive use of antibiotics in healthcare settings. Aware of this problem, medical organizations have revised their guidelines in recent years to stem unnecessary use of antibiotic medications. This includes administration of antibiotics prior to many types of oral surgery.
What This Means for You
You may be among the class of people who need not take a presurgical antibiotic, even if you suffer from one or more of the following conditions:
- Calcified aortic stenosis.
- Rheumatic heart disease.
- Mitral valve prolapse.
- Bicuspid valve disease.
- Many types of congenital heart conditions, including atrial septal defect, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and ventricular septal defect.
Some patients are still encouraged to take antibiotics prior to oral surgery. These include people with any of the following qualifications:
- Those with artificial heart valves.
- Those with a history of infective endocarditis.
- Those with certain types of congenital heart conditions.
- Those who have undergone a cardiac transplant, especially if a subsequent problem has developed in one of their heart valves.
No Evidence of Benefits from Presurgical Antibiotics
The medical community has conducted extensive research on the value of presurgical antibiotics in recent years. A comprehensive review of the literature has shown no measurable benefits for the vast majority of patients.
This discovery reinforces what dental and medical professionals have long suspected about the value of antibiotics. These medications are invaluable for treating infections that the patient’s immune system by itself cannot repel. In many cases, however, they’re either unneeded or even counterproductive.
This fact, combined with the occasional complications that arise from antibiotic therapy, meaning that many oral surgery patients need no longer worry about taking antibiotics prior to an upcoming procedure.
Your Oral Surgeon Is Still Your Best Guide
The material presented in this post is intended for informational purposes only. You should still follow the directions of your oral surgeon in Chicago regarding antibiotic usage and other medical matters. That’s the best way to safeguard your health, and your smile, for many, many years to come.
About the Author
Dr. Firas F. Katabi is a skilled oral and dental surgeon with more than two decades of experience in his profession. He earned his DDS degree from Case Western Reserve University and completed training in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Lincoln Medical Center. You can reach his office online or by calling (773) 486-2220.