Prophylaxis is the term give to actions or treatments given to prevent disease. Pre-emptive medical care if you like.
New guidelines issued in 2012 by the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons started that antibiotic prophylaxis is not now recommended for everyone with artificial joints or for those who already have orthopedic implants and who are about to undergo dental procedures. This has been endorsed by the ADA.
Your dentist will therefore take each patient’s requirements on a case by case basis. There are still valid grounds for prescribing antibiotic prophylaxis where patients have orthopedic implants. This is to prevent orthopedic implant infection. Example of appropriate scenarios include patients who have rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, long term steroid users, cancer sufferers or those undergoing chemotherapy. All these reduce the effectiveness of the body’s immune system, which could lead to an increased risk of orthopedic implant infection.
Do, make your dentist aware if you have an orthopedic implant or if you suffer from a heart condition. Your dentist will then discuss the suitability of antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental procedures.
General thinking regarding the excessive use of antibiotics has led to a re-examination of the justification for prescribing them in many situations. There are known risks in the use of antibiotics. These range from simple upset stomach to severe allergic reactions that may be life threatening (anaphylactic shock), a well as possible intestinal problems like C. difficile infection.
In the case of dental procedures, new thinking sees no benefits in taking antibiotic prophylaxis before dental procedures as no evidence has emerged that this prevents infections of orthopedic implants or of the heart.
Feel free to consult your dentist if you have any concern regarding antibiotic prophylaxis.