The British Dental Journal features an article this issue that reminds us of the subtle but important change to NICE guidelines on antibiotic prophylaxis.
Since 2008, NICE clinical guidelines have stated: ‘Antibiotic prophylaxis against infective endocarditis is not recommended for people undergoing dental procedures’. This put UK guidance at odds with guidance in the rest of the world, where antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended for patients at high-risk of infective endocarditis undergoing invasive dental procedures. Many dentists also felt this wording prohibited the use of antibiotic prophylaxis, regardless of the wishes of the patient or their personal risk of infective endocarditis and made it difficult for them to use their clinical judgment to deliver individualised care in the best interests of their patients. NICE have now changed this guidance to ‘Antibiotic prophylaxis against infective endocarditis is not recommended routinely for people undergoing dental procedures.’ This article examines the implications of this small but important change.