Bacteremia Associated With Oral Surgery: A Review

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Bacterial (infective) endocarditis, a microbial infection of the endocardium surfaces after bacteremia, causes significant morbidity and mortality. Recent epidemiologic studies have reported a prevalence of 2–8 cases per 100,000 individuals per year, with the highest incidence in those aged 70–80 years and those living in developed countries. We systematically reviewed the literature on several critical aspects regarding the development of bacteremia after oral surgery. The purpose of this work is to assess the controversy regarding antibiotic prophylaxis before oral surgery.

Materials and Methods

Publications between 1976 and 2015 were included. Clinical studies focusing on oral surgery as the underlying cause were included.


Among the 32 clinical studies reviewed, 3564 cases, accounting for 12,839 blood cultures, were evaluated. In 10 of these studies, amoxicillin usefulness was studied. Antimicrobial prophylaxis before an invasive dental procedure does not prevent bacteremia, although it can decrease both its magnitude and its persistence.


The highly conflicting data and conclusions of the analyzed work highlight the need for new approaches to the study of bacteremia that would provide reliable evidence and thus appropriate prophylactic and therapeutic standards. Many reports have explored the occurrence of bacteremia after dental procedures, but the results have been conflicting.

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