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Vol. 73, No. 3
ISSN: 1488-2159
April 2007


Antibiotic Prophylaxis Practices in Dentistry: A Survey of Dentists and Physicians


• Carmen Lauber, BSc, DDS •
• Saranjeev S. Lalh, BSc, DDS, MD, FRCD(C) •
• Michael Grace, BSc, BEd, AM, PhD •
• Miller Hayden Smith, BMSc, DDS •
• Kevin MacDougall, BMS, DDS •
• Paul West, BSc, DDS •
• Sean Compton, BSc, DDS •

A b s t r a c t

Background: A survey was conducted to determine prescribing practices of general dental and medical practitioners regarding the use of antibiotics for prophylaxis.

Materials and Methods: A questionnaire with an accompanying letter was designed to investigate prescribing practices of general dentists and physicians. The survey encompassed demographic data, mechanisms to keep current with prophylactic practice, first- and second-line drugs prescribed with doses and directions, applicable medical conditions and dental procedures warranting antibiotic prophylaxis. Names were chosen randomly from provincial lists and ethics approval was granted. Responses were compared with 1997 American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines.

Results: In all, 1,500 surveys were sent to each group, with a response rate of 32% of dentists and 17% of physicians. There was a signifi cant difference (p < 0.05) between dentists (95%) and physicians (71%) in selecting the correct first-line antibiotic, amoxicillin, and in choosing the correct dose of amoxicillin (i.e., 2 g, 1 hour before treatment) :88% of dentists and 48% of physicians (p < 0.05). Appropriate second-line drugs were correctly selected by 84% of dentists and 67% of physicians — a significant difference (p < 0.05) — with clindamycin chosen most often (82% and 49%, respectively). Over 90% of respondents in both professions correctly identifi ed conditions, such as prosthetic heart valve and endocarditis, requiring antibiotic prophylaxis.

Conclusions: Clinicians are not always aware of current clinical guidelines, and dentists and physicians exhibit different patterns regarding antibiotic prescribing. Dentists are more familiar than physicians with current protocols of the AHA.


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