Why Is Dental Clearance Before Surgery Or Radiation Therapy Important?

Why Is Dental Clearance Before Surgery Or Radiation Therapy Important?

It’s astonishing how many people don’t know the importance of visiting your dentist before heart surgery, cardiac valve replacement surgery, chemotherapy for cancer, radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, orthopedic reconstructive or joint replacement surgery, and for many other surgical procedures.  Even more remarkable are the number of physicians who fail to advise their patients about the importance of this pre-treatment protocol.

There are many reasons to secure clearance from your dentist. Consider that there are a few hundred types of oral bacteria.  While some are beneficial, others promote tooth decay, gum disease, dental abscesses, retained roots and impacted teeth. These toxic bacteria can also enter the bloodstream and travel to organs and/or recently implanted artificial joints throughout your body. As a result, these harmful sources of infection could cause complications such as potentially life-threatening endocarditis for example. (Inflamation of the inner layer of the heart.)

Consider too that getting a clean bill of dental health is important prior to anyone starting radiation treatment. The reason is that radiation can affect salivary glands, reducing saliva production which is important to lubricate your mouth and protect your teeth from decay. If salivary glands are comprised prior to radiation, further damage could lead to mouth sores or ulcerations, reduced opening of the mouth, and bone death which could result in loss of teeth.

There are other reasons too.  For example, people with loose teeth, loose crowns and loose bridges should see a dental professional prior to receiving general anesthesia. Otherwise, there is a risk of tooth dislodgement when a breathing tube is inserted to administer general anesthesia drugs.  And for people who use drugs called “bisphosphonates” (typically used for cancer-related conditions or osteoporosis to prevent the loss of bone density), there is a greater risk of slow or impaired bone healing following tooth extractions or jaw surgery.

It’s equally important to tell your dentist about any recent surgical or radiation treatments.  Your dentist will know which dental procedures should be delayed until your physician says the affected areas are sufficiently healed where the risks of infection are no longer an issue.

Don’t Wait Until You Need Surgery.

Too often, people don’t seek regular dental care because of the cost, inconvenience or fear associated with anticipated pain. But consider that many surgical procedures are unplanned and if done in an emergency situation, that means you won’t have the opportunity to mitigate infection risks.  Moreover, consider that good dentists provide a complete oral scan as part of routine checkups.  Often, they discover oral cancers and other problems which can be treated before they become more serious.

For those that are resistant to seeking regular care, consider that some dentists offer membership dental plans which provide meaningful discounts. And for those dental professionals utilizing the most current tools and equipment, most procedures can be diagnosed and treated in one visit…usually pain free with current laser technology.

There is a difference between dental providers.

Calabasas Dental Spa provides comprehensive dental services including diagnostic and preventative dental care, cosmetic dental enhancement procedures, restorative dental services, sleep apnea treatment, and more. Browse Calabasas Dental Spa website to learn more: www.calabasasasdentalspa.com

Calabasas Dental Spa was founded by Dr. Tania Baker. With over 30 years of extensive medical training and experience, the practice delivers high-tech minimally invasive, biocompatible dentistry. Contact Calabasas Dental spa for details on their Dental Membership Plan.