Antibiotics save lives. They have increased our life expectancy and helped us recover from major and minor infections. But just like reaching for that fifth slice of pizza, too much of a good thing can be bad. We are proud that our office stays on top of current science, but sometimes that means our recommendations will change or contradict guidance from another specialist.
Current science recommends antibiotic stewardship, a term used to describe the practice of prescribing antibiotics judiciously to ensure their effectiveness in treating infections. Overprescribing antibiotics for dental procedures can lead to antibiotic resistance, meaning the antibiotics won’t work, so it’s important to think twice before requesting them.
The number of antibiotic-resistant infections has risen dramatically in the last decade. One of the main reasons for this is that healthcare providers prescribe antibiotics “just in case” the medication is needed or because a patient expects and wants it. This approach is contributing to an alarming rate of antibiotic overuse and subsequent bacterial resistance. When antibiotics are prescribed too frequently, bacteria can develop resistance to them, rendering them ineffective. This can lead to more serious illnesses and even death.
We can reduce antibiotic overuse and resistance by being more judicious when it comes to prescribing antibiotics. As your dental team, we understand that it is easy to fall into the trap of simply writing a prescription for antibiotics “just in case” something could be wrong. Because this type of antibiotic overuse is unnecessary and may lead to antibiotic resistance, we take extra care to carefully consider each patient’s individual situation before prescribing antibiotics. This means we will be writing fewer prescriptions for antibiotics, shorter durations if we do prescribe, or we might ask you to delay filling them based on your symptoms. Additionally, your premedication may no longer be recommended. Both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons no longer recommend antibiotic premedications for all joint replacements.
You know we are wholly vested in establishing and maintaining your oral health; that’s nothing new about us. But as we learn more about the connection between your oral health and your general health, we are even more committed to finding ways to ensure your mouth is never a gateway to infection. This is why we talk to you about your home care. And we look beyond brushing and flossing and recommend adjuncts like Perio Tray™ therapy from Perio Protect as an antibiotic-free way to treat and maintain your gum health.
Keep us up to date on your health. If you are scheduled for surgery or receive a diagnosis, we want to know. We might have some recommendations that will help your journey back to wellness. And. by taking extra precautions and only prescribing antibiotics when absolutely necessary, we can better ensure your health.