Recommendations for antibiotic coverage before dental treatment for patients with heart symptoms have been modified and simplified in recent years. But there has been much confusion over antibiotics for dental patients with joint replacements. Now the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons have released a guideline that does not recommend routine antibiotics for dental patients with joint replacements.
Their paper “Prevention of Orthopaedic Implant Infection in Patients Undergoing Dental Procedures,” is a review of research to determine any correlation between prosthetic joint infections and dental procedures. The researchers examined a large group of patients who all had a prosthetic hip or knee. They found that dental procedures, whether or not the patient was prescribed antibiotics, did not increase the chances of development of a joint infection.
However, any decision with respect to antibiotic premedication should be made on an individual basis by the patient, dentist and physician. Patients with prosthetic joints who have a compromised immune system might be prescribed antibiotics before dental procedures because of a greater risk of infection.