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Bacteremia means that bacteria have entered the bloodstream. These bacteria can cause infection in other parts of the body, but the immune system is usually able to fight it off. However, some people are more susceptible to infection, especially when they undergo certain dental procedures because the mouth is full of bacteria which can enter the blood stream.

Antibiotic prophylaxis is premedicating with an antibiotic some certain dental procedures in order to reduce the risk for infection. Premedication is recommended for patients who have certain heart conditions which make them more vulnerable to an infection. These heart conditions include:

  • A history of endocarditis (infection in the heart)
  • A heart transplant that was complicated by valve problems
  • Artificial heart valves
  • Cyanotic congenital heart disease
  • Palliative shunts
  • Residual defects from a prior heart condition

It may also be recommended that those with an artificial joint premedicate if they have a weak immune system due to cancer, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. Speak with your dentist about whether you should premedicate before dental procedures which involve an incision being made to oral tissue. These procedures include root canal treatment, implant placement, and tooth extractions.