We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Dental Antibiotic Prophylaxis?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Dental antibiotic prophylaxis is the administering of antibiotics to patients who are in a high-risk category to develop infections as the result of certain dental procedures. It is mainly used to prevent a condition known as infective endocarditis, which is an infection that can happen on the outside of the heart or the valves of the heart. The use of dental antibiotic prophylaxis is only needed in a very few situations, according to the American Heart Association, which worked with the American Dental Association to update guidelines.

The main purpose of using dental antibiotic prophylaxis is simply to prevent infection that can affect the heart, but it is only needed for patients in certain situations. Some of the most common needs for the treatment include those patients with artificial heart valves, a history of infective endocarditis, a transplant that eventually develops problems with a heart valve, or one of a number of congenital heart defects. The list of patients who were once required to have dental antibiotic prophylaxis, but who no longer need it under the new guidelines, are those with mitral valve prolapse, bicuspid valve disease, rheumatic heart disease, and calcified aortic stenosis. In addition, the procedure is no longer recommended for certain congenital heart defects.

The dosage for this type of treatment often depends on the type of antibiotic used. Generally, the standard practice is to administer 2 grams of amoxicillin orally to adults. Those who cannot take oral medication could be given 2 grams of ampicillin intravenously. Children are often given 50 milligrams of amoxicillin or ampicillin for every 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of weight. Those who are allergic to penicillin products may be given a different antibiotic.

In addition to the various medical conditions that require the use of dental antibiotic prophylaxis, there are specific dental procedures that would require it. These procedures include those that involve dealing with gingival tissue, also known as the gum tissue. For some procedures, such as anesthetic injections into healthy tissue, treatment with antibiotics is not required. Those with questions or concerns should consult their dentist or oral surgeon.

One of the dangers of administering dental antibiotic prophylaxis is the unpredictability of the side effects. These could include rashes and even potentially severe breathing problems. While these may be rare, the risks associated with the treatment ultimately outweigh the benefits for populations considered at lower risk. Further, the overuse of antibiotics has been tied to the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are more difficult to treat with conventional medications.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon295419 — On Oct 06, 2012

I just had a tooth out. I have a bicuspid aortic heart valve now and I'm worried. I'm getting chest pains and my face is swollen. I recommend making sure you get antibiotics because they gave me none.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.