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All About Antibiotics for Root Canals: Your Questions Answered Posted on January 9, 2016

The guidelines for using antibiotics for dental and surgical procedures have changed within the last few years. Although you may have taken antibiotics as part of the pre-treatment procedure for a past root canal or apicoectomy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll need to use them for future endodontic treatment. In this FAQ, Dr. Semashko answers some common questions about antibiotic prophylaxis. If you have further questions, give his office a call at 724-452-7080. He and his staff are happy to help you.

Why do some patients receive antibiotics before endodontic treatment?

During a procedure such as a root canal, the bacteria in your mouth can enter your bloodstream. While this isn’t a problem for most people, in those with health issues, it can inflame their heart valves and lead to a very serious condition called infective endocarditis.

Antibiotic pre-treatment prevents infective endocarditis. Patients who have a prosthetic cardiac/heart valve, a previous history of infective endocarditis, or certain congenital heart diseases are recommended to receive antibiotic pre-treatment. Especially for those who have defective valves, some people are more likely to experience an infection that can then lead to heart failure. Although the percentage of possible problems with a patient who has valve problems is very small, endodontists will err on the side of caution by pre-medicating with antibiotics.

I’ve had a hip replacement. Should I receive antibiotics before my next root canal?
Patients who have recently had joint replacement surgery may require pre-medication. Patients who have had stents placed within the last six months should also be premeditated. Ask your doctor and endodontist what their recommendations are. Usually, we recommend that if a patient has had no problems in the past, that they pre-medicate for the first two years following surgery. If there has been a problem in the past, such as a previous history of the prosthetic joint failing due to an infection, then pre-medication is required.

Why have new guidelines been created for pre-medication needs?

Dental professions, such as endodontists, follow the guidelines that have been adopted by orthopedic surgeons and cardiologists. In 2007, the guidelines were updated by the American Heart Association. If you had endodontic treatment prior to 2007, your endodontist would have been following different recommendations. If Dr. Semashko has any questions about your past medical care, he’ll contact your primary care doctor, cardiologist, or surgeon to determine if you require antibiotics.

Endodontics in Cranberry provides treatments such as root canals and apicoectomies for anyone in the Pittsburgh area, including Wexford, the North Hills, and Butler. Call us today for safe, skilled endodontic treatment.

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