For decades, the American Heart Association recommended that patients with certain heart conditions take antibiotics shortly before dental treatment. This was done with the belief that antibiotics would prevent infective endocarditis. The AHA's latest guidelines were just released and there is good news: the AHA recommends that most of these patients no longer need short-term antibiotics as a preventive measure before their dental treatment.
The new guidelines are aimed at patients who would have the greatest danger of a bad outcome if they developed a heart infection. This would include artificial heart valves, a history of endocarditis, certain specific, serious congential conditions, and a cardiac transplant that develops a problem in a heart valve.
The good news is patients who have taken prophylactic antibiotics routinely in the past but no longer need them include: mital valve prolapse, rheumatic heart disease, bicuspid valve disease and many congenital heart conditions.
For a complete overview of the new guidelines go to www.ada.org.