We live at a wonderful time in history. Medical advances allow us to live longer lives. We can be much more comfortable and more mobile because of the marvelous appliances and techniques available today. Great physicians perform procedures which replace worn out hips and knees and shoulders and various other body parts with amazing success. Not too many years ago people with severe hip and knee problems would suffer much pain and would be crippled, only able to get around with wheelchairs or crutches.
One of the biggest concerns and causes for failure with these prosthetic joints is infection. Over the years various protocols have been established to lower these risks. Bacteria in the blood stream could potentially be carried to the artificial joint causing an infection around the device. Antibiotics were used to lessen the likelihood of bacteria entering the bloodstream when controllable events caused bleeding in relatively unclean environments. Such an event is having dental procedures done which caused bleeding in the mouth. This antibiotic treatment has been a bit controversial because people who take a lot of antibiotics may develop antibiotic resistant bacteria in their bodies. When these people get a serious infection, they don’t get better because the current antibiotics don’t kill their bacteria. There is also not lot of evidence that oral bacteria cause prosthetic joint infections. Many people cause bleeding in their own mouths when they floss or brush and these occurrences aren’t covered by antibiotics and they don’t seem to be detrimental to the new joint. A panel made up of representatives from the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons after a thorough review determined that antibiotic treatment prior to dental procedures would not be indicated..Some exceptions do exist for those who have unusual risks for infection but most dental patients do not need to be premedicated any more prior to their dental appointments.