Preparing for major surgery requires a lot of thinking head. Your surgeon will likely want to know what medications you are allergic to, and may put you on a regimen of antibiotics a week or two before the surgery date. These precautions can help to prevent infections during healing. You will likely have your own checklist to prepare for your recovery such as stocking up on groceries, or arranging your bed for easy access. A step that should be on your list is making sure that your oral health will not cause any complications.

Your Oral Health can Cause Surgery Complications

Close up of surgeons' handsMany surgeons will ask their patients if they have any dental concerns before the surgery. Decaying teeth and infections in the mouth can introduce bacteria to the body, which can cause infections, or other complications in healing tissue. In some cases, patients preparing for major surgery will be advised to get problem teeth extracted to avoid the risk of infection.

Knowing that dental extractions could decrease the risk of infection after surgery, it may be tempting to head to your dentist and take care of those bad teeth. Assuming that extractions are needed without consulting your physician, however, could cause more problems than it solves.

Keep Communication Open

In order to assess whether or not you are at risk of infection from bad teeth, your dentist and surgeon will need to communicate with one another. A recent study conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers found that the potential benefit of tooth extractions before surgery depends on the patient’s health, severity of the condition being treated, and severity of tooth decay or infection.

By studying the results of 205 adult patients who had tooth extractions before cardiovascular surgery, researchers found that 1 in 10 patients died or experienced complications after surgery. Of the cases studied, 7% of the patients had to delay their surgery due to unexpected complications or findings with the extractions. Based on the cases they studied, Mayo Clinic researchers concluded that the need for tooth extractions should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Open Communication

If you are planning a major surgery, or have had major surgery in the last six months, it is important to open communications between your surgeon and dentist. Even if you are just going in for your six-month cleaning, it is important to share information about recent or future surgeries. Your dentist will be able to discuss possible health risks with your surgeon. Information about your physical and oral health can be combined to determine whether you need dental work before your surgery, or need to wait and have the work done later.

To learn more about how dental work can help decrease the risk of infection before surgery, please call (407) 834-6446 to set up an appointment with Dr. Michael L. Weinstock today.