Sensitivity to some antibiotics can decrease over time 

Experts continue monitoring the use of antibiotics in medical applications, including dentistry, as resistance by some bacteria to antibiotics grows around the world. Dr. Dennis Lucas maintains his focus on continuing education to remain up to date on the latest findings and recommendations for the benefit and safety of his patients. 

Although antibiotics are more commonly associated with fighting existing bacterial infections in general medical situations, dentists sometimes suggest taking antibiotics before treatments to decrease the chance of infection occurring. Dental antibiotic prophylaxis refers to the goal of preventing an infection from occurring before bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream during some dental treatments. 

The rise of so-called superbugs, which are resistant to most or all known antibiotics, are the motivating force behind many of the updates in the use of antibiotics. Recommendations have been updated for patients who require antibiotics either as a preventive measure (prophylaxis) or to treat an existing infection. 

Use of antibiotic prophylaxis varies depending on the situation 

Recommendations on the prudent use of antibiotics as a preventive strategy varies by patient and each situation. For example, a recent study that appeared in the Journal of Arthroplasty found no correlation between infections on prosthetic joints and invasive dental procedures. The study’s authors recommend no dental procedures take place within three months after joint replacement surgery, and after that there is no reason for antibiotic prophylaxis (prevention) for dental procedures. They suggest these patients consult with their surgeon on this issue. 

Amoxicillin is the primary antibiotic of choice for many situations, including dental applications. Patients with an allergy to amoxicillin may be advised to substitute azithromycin (Zithromax Z-Pak), doxycycline, cephalexin, or Augmentin. Studies have shown that sensitivity to amoxicillin and penicillin often diminishes over a period of 10 years, with additional testing with an allergist often a beneficial step. 

Recommendations pertaining to the duration of antibiotic treatments for existing infections also received an update, shortening the time frame from 7-14 days down to 3-5 days with a re-evaluation of symptoms at that point. A longer duration may be necessary if symptoms persist, but treatment can stop 24 hours after resolution of symptoms. 

About Dr. Dennis Lucas – Naples, Florida, dentist 

Dr. Dennis Lucas performs cosmetic and restorative dental techniques, as well as traditional preventive dental services for patients in and around Naples, Florida. His expertise, supported by the latest in dental technology, ensures oral health plays a role in his patients’ total healthcare picture. Call (239) 262-5851 to schedule an appointment.