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Dental Care as an Adult with CHD

Jan 21

Posted by: ACHA
1/21/2014 2:24 PM  RssIcon

By Steve Graham

Good dental care and good dental hygiene is essential for everyone. This is especially true for adults with CHD. As a child, I can remember my parents stressing that I always take my “medicine” before any dental appointment. When I left for college, they still pestered me about the importance of my pre-meds. It wasn’t until later into adulthood, that I realized how important taking my “medicine” was before any appointment.

Over the last decade, with the change in guidelines for dental prophylaxis, I have experienced dentists who refused to prescribe my antibiotics until they have seen me at least once. I have experienced some dentists who are not familiar with the certain CHD diagnoses for which antibiotics are recommended by the American Heart Association. One dentist attempted to give me a non-preferred antibiotic right before the appointment; you need one hour prior to your appointment for the medicine to be effective.

Some dentists have attempted to do more on that first visit, resulting in bleeding of the gums. My rule is no matter how innocent the dental visit, talk to your ACHD doctor about taking the pre-meds and have him or her prescribe your antibiotics. The bottom line is, do not devalue the importance of good dental hygiene and taking antibiotics before your dental visits if your ACHD doctor recommends it.

Steve Graham was born with a complete AV canal defect, repaired in 1972. He has spent most of his life working in broadcasting. Currently, Steve is the VP of Marketing for a radio network. In the early 2000s, he served as president of The Children’s Heart Foundation-Florida Chapter. He holds an MBA in Management and a MEd in Higher Education. Steve loves writing and sharing his passion for healthcare communication and congenital cardiology.

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