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Antibiotic Prophylaxis: Prosthetic Joints and Orthopedic Implants

All of us have bacteria in our mouths. This bacteria can enter the blood stream from a variety of things such as, brushing, flossing as well as a number of different dental procedures. For those of us with a healthy immune system it isn’t a problem. However there was concern that bacteria in the bloodstream could cause infection in patients with artificial joints. Prior to 2012 it became common for patients with joint replacements and orthopedic implants to take an antibiotic before certain dental procedures, even though there was little evidence to support the actual benefits of doing so. Studies have since found, that there is no connection between dental visits and subsequent joint infections, regardless of whether or not an antibiotic had been taken. In fact there are more risks related to taking an antibiotic such as nausea, upset stomach, severe allergic reactions and developing antibiotic resistance. That is why the American Dental Association has found that it is no longer necessary for most dental patients with artificial joints such as knee, hip replacement and orthopedic implants to take an antibiotic prophylaxis (or premedication) for infection prevention. . Dr. Nichols recommends talking to with your orthopedic surgeon about not premedicating with antibiotics before dental treatments.

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