Clearance for Orthopedic Surgery

Successful Hip Replacement and its Connection to Good Oral Health

As part of your evaluation for Orthopedic treatment and your road to successful surgery, your Orthopedist may advise you to see a Periodontist. This referral is to ensure that you do not have any underlying periodontal gum problems that may need to be treated before your hip or knee replacement surgery.

Why is this important?

Periodontal (Gum) disease begins with bacteria in the mouth that causes plaque build-up and this ends up breaking down the walls of the pockets around the teeth. The bacteria that causes periodontal disease does not remain solely in the mouth – it can travel from the infected gums into the bloodstream, and then into every tissue in the body. This bacteria is linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, lung and kidney disease, cancers and other disease states, and is a risk factor for those undergoing surgical procedures. Therefore, there is a risk that the new joint will become infected by the periodontal disease. Joint infections are recognized as being one of the complicating factors in joint surgery failures and these infections may be caused by the spread of periodontal gum disease bacteria through the bloodstream. Physicians and surgeons work closely with Periodontists to ensure that periodontal disease is handled prior to joint replacement surgery. Your Periodontist will give you clearance for your surgery, thus preventing the potentiality of joint infection caused by dental disease and periodontal infection. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, 75% of American adults have periodontal disease. A large number of this population also seeks joint replacements. 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.

What is a visit like at the Periodontist?

The Periodontist will provide a diagnosis and treatment for patients who are preparing for or who have already received joint replacement surgery, and will provide a dental clearance prior to surgery. With any necessary treatment done and clearance for surgery, you enable yourself to have both a healthier mouth and better recovery from joint surgery. Since the body’s immune system is not compromised by dental infection, your healing will be swifter and more predictable. And, most importantly, your risk for serious joint infection after surgery is minimized. Sources: http://aaosh.org/planning-joint-replacement-surgery-check-dentist-first/ and http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120418112047.htm