Dental Procedures and Joint Replacements

For many years, people who had prosthetic joints were advised to take prophylactic antibiotics before undergoing dental procedures. The antibiotics were to help prevent orthopedic implant infections. It was presumed that bacteria from the mouth could infect the artificial knee or hip joint. But a recent 2014 panel formed by the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs determined that there was not a demonstrated association between dental procedures and prosthetic joint infection (PJI). They voiced concern about antibiotic resistance, adverse drug reactions and costs of prescribing antibiotics for PJI prevention.  The 2014 panel recommended that prophylactic  antibiotics not be prescribed prior to dental procedures to prevent prosthetic joint infection for patients with prosthetic joint implants.

It has been my experience that orthopedic physicians do not necessarily follow the advice of the scientific panel. There may be individual circumstances for which antibiotic treatment might be advised.  As always, check with your physician if you have an artificial joint.

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