ADA Issues New Recommendations on Antibiotic Use in Dental Patients with Artificial Joints
In the past, patients who had artificial joints – such as hip or knee replacements – were advised to take antibiotics before any dental visit. Research had suggested that people with artificial joints might be more susceptible to infections in their prosthetic joints when undergoing dental procedures, so dentists and physicians were recommending people take antibiotics prophylactically prior to dental visits, meaning as a preventive measure.

However, in 2014 a major review of the literature and research was conducted, seeking clarification about the relationship between dental procedures and artificial joint infections. This study changed how dental professionals view prophylactic antibiotic use, and now the American Dental Association (ADA) has updated its guidelines on the topic, beginning with the following clinical recommendation:
In general, for patients with prosthetic joint implants, prophylactic antibiotics are not recommended prior to dental procedures to prevent prosthetic joint infection.*
Further, the ADA says that the potential hazards of prescribing unnecessary antibiotics to patients outweigh any potential benefit for most patients with artificial joints. Clearly, there are some cases in which a pre-dental procedure antibiotic is desirable.

If you are a patient who has artificial joints of any kind, and you are concerned about the potential for infection or confused about the ADA’s recommendations, please get in touch. Dr. Welch will consult with you and your orthopedic physician, and you’ll make a decision as a team about what’s best for your health.

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