If going to the dentist makes you nervous, relax. New guidelines may give you one less thing to worry about. Doctors used to recommend that people with heart conditions take antibiotics before a trip to the dentist. The goal was to prevent infective endocarditis. Infective endocarditis is a very rare but potentially life-threatening infection of a heart valve. It can develop when bacteria enters the bloodstream and travels to the heart.
Some dental procedures, such as pulling a tooth, can increase the risk of bacteria entering the bloodstream. But the American Heart Association says the chance of developing infective endocarditis from a dental visit is very small. In fact, your everyday activities are just as likely to cause infective endocarditis as a trip to the dentist. And that's why antibiotics before a trip to the dentist aren't necessary for most people.
You can skip the antibiotics before your next dental visit if you have or have had:
Some heart conditions do put people at higher risk for infective endocarditis. Antibiotics are still recommended if you have or have had:
Talk with your doctor to find out if you need antibiotics before your dentist visit. The new guidelines may take you off the hook for antibiotics. But they won't let you off the hook for flossing.
Source: American Heart Association