Thursday, May 31, 2007
Medical Reports: Anti antibiotic
For decades doctors have been prescribing antibiotics for certain patients before dental procedures. But tonight, 7's Diana Diaz says dentists are now anti-antibiotics.
WSVN -- Hardly anyone likes going to the dentist.
Receptionist: "You have an appointment today?"
Helen Baer: "Yes, I have an appointment to see Dr. Zionts."
But, for some patients, a trip to this chair meant taking extra medications.
Helen Baer: "It's been about 25 years of taking antibiotics, every six months just for my cleanings. There were even times I had to have IV antibiotics put in."
Helen Baer suffers from a common heart condition called mitral valve prolapse and has been taking antibiotics before most of her dental procedures to prevent a fatal heart infection, known as endocarditis.
Helen Baer: "The last several years it was one dose, four pills, an hour or so before the dental procedure."
But now her dentist says she no longer needs the pills.
Dr. David Zionts: "We have some good news for you today."
Helen Baer: "What is that?"
Dr. David Zionts: "You don't need to take your antibiotics anymore for dental work."
Helen Baer: "You're kidding."
No, he's not kidding.
The American Heart Association recently changed its rules.
Dr. David Zionts: "[It] used to be thought that they needed it all the time, and they don't need it at all for almost any dental procedure."
Doctors say the Heart Association changed its rules after discovering antibiotics won't always stop the infection.
Dr. David Zionts: "The risk of endocarditis was felt to be far greater with just spontaneous bacteria in the blood from brushing your own teeth, from using a pick in your teeth."
And that's good news because doctors have been trying to reduce the use of antibiotics for years.
Dr. David Zionts: "Antibiotics can actually cause resistance if they are taken too much."
Plus, many patients had a hard time with antibiotics, suffering from everything from rashes to stomach problems.
Patients with high-risk heart conditions will have to continue taking the pills.
Dr. David Zionts: "The people that are at higher risk are people that have prior endocarditis, people that have a prosthetic valve or have had a valve replacement surgically and people with congenital heart disease."
Helen is just glad she is off the hook.
Helen Baer: "You never know when you need an antibiotic in the future for something else, so if I don't have to take it, I'll be very happy."
Diana Diaz: "Doctors say to check with them first before you stop taking any antibiotics."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
American Heart Association
Dr. David Zionts/Dentist
Southeast Florida Dental Group
12900 NE 17 Ave., Suite 500
North Miami, FL 33181
Dr. Dean Heller/Cardiologist
8525 SW 92 St., #D-13
Miami, FL 33156