Health Inspired Dentistry Blog

Dental Clearance Recommended Before Joint Surgeries 11-11-19

We live in a society where joint replacements are becoming more and more common as we age. If you are familiar with the dental protocols after joint replacements, you may know about needing to take an antibiotic prior to each dental appointment. The protocol is recommended by the orthopedic surgeon and the antibiotic may be recommended to take for a minimum of 2 years after surgery. Taking an antibiotic prior to a dental visit is intended to stop the bacteria from spreading that is being disrupted in the mouth during the appointment. The bacteria in the mouth causing gum disease and tooth loss, can spread to the replaced joint and cause an infection.

Gum disease may be the root cause of your joint problem

Are you surprised to hear that you should get a dental clearance from your dental team before having a joint replaced? The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Dental Association recommend that people requiring joint replacement surgery receive a dental clearance prior to joint replacement surgery.* The bad bacteria in the mouth is damaging for all of our joints, not just the artificially replaced joints. The bacteria throughout our body is constantly traveling throughout our bloodstream and when gum disease is present, that bad bacteria can actually be the cause of a joint needing replaced. Of all American adults, 75% have periodontal disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.*

It is important to make sure your mouth is free of gum disease prior to ANY surgeries, especially joint surgeries to allow the new joint to properly heal and prevent re-infection after surgery. Inflammation can be caused by bad bacteria and inflammation is known to be a cause of joint failures. By keeping your mouth free of gum disease, you can have a peace of mind that the bad bacteria from the mouth isn’t traveling throughout the body and affecting your organs and joints.

Antibiotics and joint replacement surgery

Due to antibiotic resistance, dentists are not recommended to prescribe antibiotics for premedication after joint replacement surgeries anymore. This prescription should be obtained by the orthopedic surgeon post-surgery. It is recommended that the patient inquires about the dental premedication with their surgeon.

*Resource: The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health