Premedicate Before Dental Work: Everything You Need To Know

Scared girl at dentist stock photo. Image of patient 38542012


Going to the dentist can be a stressful experience for many people. Whether it’s a routine check-up or a more complex dental procedure, the thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair can cause anxiety and fear. To help alleviate some of this stress, dentists often recommend premedicating before dental work.

Why Do You Need to Premedicate?

Premedicating before dental work involves taking medication before your appointment to help reduce the risk of infection. This is especially important for people with certain medical conditions, such as heart valve disease, who may be at a higher risk of developing an infection from dental procedures.

The Types of Medication Used for Premedication

The medication used for premedication typically includes antibiotics, which are prescribed by your dentist or physician. The type of antibiotic prescribed will depend on your medical history and the type of dental work you are having done.

When to Take the Medication

Your dentist or physician will provide specific instructions on when to take the medication, but typically, it is taken an hour before the dental procedure. In some cases, a second dose may be required if the procedure is more extensive.

Who Should Premedicate?

Not everyone needs to premedicate before dental work. Your dentist will determine if premedication is necessary based on your medical history and the type of dental work you are having done. People with the following medical conditions may need to premedicate:

  • Heart valve disease
  • Artificial heart valves
  • A history of infective endocarditis
  • Certain congenital heart conditions

Side Effects of Premedication

Like any medication, premedication can cause side effects. The most common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach upset

If you experience any of these side effects, contact your dentist or physician immediately.


Premedicating before dental work is a common practice that can help reduce the risk of infection in certain individuals. If you have a medical condition that puts you at risk for infection, talk to your dentist or physician about premedication. They will be able to provide you with more information about the medication and whether or not it is necessary for your dental procedure. Remember, taking care of your oral health is important, and premedicating is just one way to ensure that you stay healthy.