At times physicians and dentists recommend patients take antibiotics before certain dental procedures. This is called antibiotic prophylaxis. But why do healthcare providers suggest this extra step? We all have bacteria in our mouths, and a number of dental treatments can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream. For most of us, this isn’t a problem; however patients with heart conditions should be more cautious. The American Heart Association has guidelines identifying people who should take antibiotics prior to dental care. The list includes people with: Artificial heart valves, heart transplant, unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, and people with palliative shunts. If you have any questions regarding premedication before a dental procedure consult your dentist, For your dental health, I’m Dr. John Kenney.