With HHT, the concern for infection is about bacteria getting into the blood stream and passing through the lungs which can then be placed anywhere within the body. This is true for all “dirty procedures”. It is very important to inform your dentist that you have HHT before you have any dental work including dental cleaning.
HHT patients fall into one of three categories:
- If you have lung AVMs, these bacteria can pass through the AVM, lodge in the brain, and cause a brain abscess (a collection of pus in the brain). A brain abscess is an extremely serious medical emergency and could be life threatening. HHT experts currently recommend preventive antibiotics prior to dental procedures in all patients with lung AVMs and in all patients who have HHT but have not yet been screened for lung AVMs with a bubble echocardiogram. Your dentist can give you the antibiotic of their choice 1 hour before the dental work.
- If you’ve never been to an HHT Treatment Center or it’s been more than five years since you’re last visit and you have questions about prophylactic antibiotics, you should have your local physician contact the HHT Center.
- If you have been screened for lung AVMs and the tests confirm that you do not have them then you will not require antibiotics.