We no longer live in a time where your health can be effectively managed by a single physician, like in the days of house calls. You are the world’s leading expert on your health history and it needs to be shared equally amongst physicians and dentists. Conditions affecting your entire health affect your oral health and vice versa. It is imperative that you keep track of the information and advice your primary care physician, your dentist, and any specialists give you, so medical risks are not over looked. It has happened on countless occasions, a patient is seated in the operatory, the health history is updated as no changes, and in conversation it comes up that the patient has recently had a surgery or been in the hospital. In many cases you just need to wait a recommended period of time before you see your dentist or dental hygienist to avoid complications. When it comes to joint replacements and cardiac health an importance of premedication comes to light. The standard protocol for premedication for an appointment with your dentist or dental hygienist is two grams of amoxicillin one hour before your dental visit. This may vary depending on your conditions. If you are unaware of your need for premedication and show up to your teeth cleaning without premedicating you will need to be reappointed due to your risk of infection. We all have busy lives, if we can avoid these situations you won’t need to ask for more time off from work. We all would much rather spend time away from work with family or doing something fun instead of going to the dentist. Communication between your physician and dentist will help keep your free time free. The American Heart Association and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons periodically reevaluate the risk if infection, the risk of antibiotic resistance, and the risks to patients while they strive for the safest recommendation. The recommendations are constantly changing and it is important to keep in touch with both your physician and dentist.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Recommendation for Premedication
In 2009 the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons released a statement noting the risk of infection and the great expense for total joint replacement redo’s and that it is up to the clinical judgment of the physician for premedication. We went from a standard that recommended premedication for 2 years after a total joint replacement, to a recommendation of premedication for life before appointments with your dental hygienist or dentist. According to the American Dental Association website the AAOS is involving the ADA in evaluation of evidence based research before their next recommendation for premedication, which should be released in 2011.
American Heart Association Recommendation for Premedication
In 2007 the American Heart Association changed their recommendations for premedication to:
- Artificial heart valves
- A history of infective endocarditis
- A cardiac transplant that develops a heart valve problem
- Congenital heart disease.
- The congenital heart conditions consist of unrepaired or incompletely repaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, including those with palliative shunts and conduits, a completely repaired congenital heart defect with prosthetic material or device, whether placed by surgery or by catheter intervention, during the first six months after the procedure, and any repaired congenital heart defect with residual defect at the site or adjacent to the site of a prosthetic patch or a prosthetic device.
If you have any questions consult your dentist or physician following your condition.
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