Do you think you have a penicillin allergy? Did your mom or dad tell you that you have an allergy to penicillin, but you don’t really know?
The penicillin group of antibiotics works really well for dental implant and bone grafting procedures. In fact, patients who are not treated with the penicillin type of antibiotics, such as amoxicillin or Augmentin, have a higher rate of implant and bone graft complications/failures!
The video below is from a well-respected allergy physician. I have found that most of my patients are not allergic to penicillin even though they say they are. If you were to have a reaction, it is typically pretty mild and not anaphylactic shock.
The other issue with dental implants/bone grafting surgery on a penicillin-allergic patient is, oftentimes, the go-to antibiotic is clindamycin. The jury is out on whether or not it really is helpful or harmful from a dental implant bone graft perspective, but the reality is it also has a higher chance of stomach-related problems (the worst being C. difficile, which can hospitalize you).
I always have a very extensive discussion with my patients who are penicillin allergic. If you have had hives or welts, that’s a real allergy versus stomach upset.
Also, just because a close relative has an allergy to penicillin this does not mean that you will as well.
The vast majority of patients that I’ve had complications with were allergic to penicillin (or said they were) and were unwilling to take a different antibiotic…this is my own 20-year perspective doing dental surgery.
Antibiotics should always be used judiciously as some dental implant procedures require antibiotics. Sometimes the risks outweigh the benefits while other times the benefits outweigh the risks. The clinical judgment and expertise of your implant dentist should help guide you on doing the right thing.
Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
Fellow-American Academy of Implant Dentistry