For most people, bacteria don't cause any problem. For some people, however, especially those who have chronic medical conditions, specific cardiac conditions, or those whose immune systems are compromised, bacteria that spreads throughout the bloodstream can lead to much more serious bacterial infections.
The goal of pre-medication or antibiotic prophylaxis is to prevent bacterial endocarditis, a serious infection of the endothelial heart surfaces or heart valves. A small population of people with certain problems has a high risk for contracting this potentially deadly bacterium.
The American Heart Association states that people at greatest risk for contracting bacterial or infective endocarditis are:
- Patients who underwent cardiac valve surgery in the past
- Those who have suffered past incidents of infective endocarditis
- Patients who have mitro valve prolapse, resulting in or causing valve leakage
- People who have had rheumatic fever or any degenerative cardiac condition that produces abnormalities in cardiac valves
- Patients who suffer from certain congenital heart diseases
For these patients, any dental procedure that may cause bleeding, it is recommended that you have antibiotic pre-medication as a preventive measure.