When one goes into surgery, they usually have a checklist of what feels like a million things to go through – their overall health, their weight, their medical history, allergies to any kind of medication… the list seems to go on forever. One thing they don’t tend to think about is the state of their teeth. They really should, since possibly catastrophic things can happen, healthwise, if they don’t.
Things can lurk under one’s gums, that if upset or disrupted during the procedure, could wind up doing things like unleashing rampant infection in one’s jawbone, which could then cause anything from tooth loss to possibly affecting their wellbeing down the road.
Here is why people should pay attention to the state of their dental bacteria before surgery.
The complications from having unchecked and unresolved dental issues are twofold. First of all, if the gum disease or decay is in a relatively dormant state, having an oxygen tube in one’s mouth could jar it awake – and if there is already an abundance of plaque in one’s mouth, then that could travel to another part of the body via the bloodstream. One’s mouth and jaw is not self-contained and can wind up having short- and long-term effects.
Procedures in Most Danger
One area of concern is when people get joint replacement surgery. Bacteria from the mouth, ie plaque, has been found in the replacement fluid that is supposed to lubricate a new knee or hip. How did this happen? During the procedure, it could have been sent into the bloodstream from a decaying tooth.
Another procedure that could be affected is a replacement valve for the heart. The body is a highway for this sort of bacteria and if it should reach this area, it could have potentially deadly complications.
Also, it’s not just people who are having those types of surgical procedures who are in the highest risk group – cancer patients who need to have chemotherapy would do well to sit in the dentist’s chair and get a thumbs up before starting their regimen. That’s because their immune system will be compromised and while the side effects can put them at risk for infection, having an underlying condition can be disastrous since healing from gum disease while this weakened can be next to impossible.
While dental bacteria can cause infection in even the younger and seemingly more healthier people, there are certain groups that should be kept under a even more vigilant eye before surgery. Those include:
- People on immunosuppressant medications for conditions ranging from Crojn’s disease to rheumatoid arthritis to lupus to multiple sclerosis
- The aforementioned chemotherapy patients and patients getting replacement valves or replacement joints
- Senior citizens should probably see a dentist beforehand, just to be sure. While they may feel healthy, it’s best to be seen by a professionals beforehand.
Oftentimes many of the problems can be fixed with one or two dental visits. This will mean pushing the surgery back until the condition clears up, of course. It’s far better to be safe than possibly having to deal with a life-threatening situation.
This is not a new finding – scientists and researchers have been discussing this since at least the turn of the 21st century. There are surgeons who require dental clearance letters before performing replacement valve or joint surgeries. As more and more become aware of this, pre-dental visits may become routine.
The staff at US Dental Medical knows just how important overall health is in terms of keeping a body in peak wellness. Any patient in the Columbus area who has questions about this can ask at their next appointment – which they can make by calling 614-252-3181.