Antibiotics and Artificial Joints

September 2, 2016
by FastNewSmile®

Often times patients that come to our dental implant center have artificial joints. In the past, prior to teeth implant surgeries, dentists used to prescribe prophylactic antibiotics to help ward off prosthetic joint infection, or PJI. The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs put a panel together in 2014 to test the use of prophylactic antibiotics and patients that had artificial joints. What the panel wanted to address was whether or not there was a link between prescribing patients with artificial joints antibiotics before dental procedures; and whether or not those antibiotics would help prevent infection in the prosthetic joints.

After doing a series of tests and experiments, the panel was able to come to the conclusion that there is no correlation between dental procedures and prosthetic joint infections. The two most common factors that resulted in patients having PJI were cellulitis, or having more than 4 comorbidities. Although the Panel came to the conclusion that there was not a correlation between prosthetic joint infection and dental procedures, it is still up to the practitioner to decide whether or not the patient should be prescribed antibiotics before a procedure based on the patient’s needs. Another factor practitioners need to consider before prescribing antibiotics before a dental procedure is that the more antibiotics a patient takes, the more likely they are to build a resistance to the antibiotics.

Taking antibiotics over a period of time can also cause the antibiotics to kill the good bacteria in a patient’s body and can cause other issues like diarrhea, yeast infections, and other gastrointestinal side effects. To prevent these symptoms, practitioners need to prescribe antibiotics based on their professional judgment and the patient’s needs.