Antibiotics for Dental Procedures After Joint Replacement


Photo Credit: Adobe Stock | Feng Yu

Your mouth has a lot of bacteria in it. Typically, as long as you care for your teeth, you don’t have to worry about bacteria from your mouth reaching another part of your body. However, if you have recently had joint replacement surgery, there are many situations that could increase the chance of joint infection. If you’ve had joint replacement surgery, learn more about antibiotics for dental procedures and when they are necessary.

Why Do You Need Antibiotics?

When you have a joint replacement, one of the most dangerous possible side effects is an infection in the joint. When your dentist works on your teeth, even minor services could allow the bacteria in your mouth to enter your blood stream. From there, it has the ability to reach any part of your body, including the joint replacement. Even after the area has healed, there is a risk of infection after dental work, which is why it’s important to tell your dentist if you’ve had joint replacement surgery.

Who Needs Preventative Antibiotics?

Just having joint replacement doesn’t necessarily mean you will need preventative antibiotics. In most cases, you also have to have:

  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Weakened immune system from disease, medication or radiation
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Had joint replacement in the last two years
  • Had a previous infection in the joint

These conditions all increase your chance of getting a further infection. Therefore, if any of these ring true, make sure to tell your dentist. Depending on your history and the treatment, your dentist will determine if antibiotics are the right choice.

What Procedures Require Antibiotics?

Not every procedure requires antibiotics. For example, if you are just getting some X-rays, your dentist probably won’t suggest antibiotics. Most of the time, you’ll only need antibiotics if there is a possibility of blood exposure, such as:

  • Extractions
  • Dental implants
  • Root canal
  • Local anesthetic injection (even before a filling)

Also, if your gums are tender from gum disease, you’ll also need antibiotics for gum disease procedures and regular cleanings (because your sore gums are likely to bleed).

What Kind of Antibiotics Should You Expect?

There are typically two ways your dentist will provide the antibiotics. If you can take pills, you’ll be given a prescription for oral medication. If you can’t take oral medication, the dentist can administer an injection an hour before the procedure. Types of antibiotics your dentist may prescribe include:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Cephalexin
  • Cephradine
  • Clindamycin (if you are allergic to penicillin)

Taking care of your artificial joint after surgery is important, and one of the key steps is talking with your dentist. Discuss your procedure and history. Your dentist will use this to determine when antibiotics for dental procedures are necessary to keep you and your joints healthy. For more information about the connection between dental care, antibiotics and joint replacement, contact Landmark Dental Group today.