December 8, 2018
Just like any surgery, oral surgery requires it’s fair share of planning. Part of this planning involves keeping the dentist updated on your medical history. If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, they should know. If you have a heart condition, such as a heart murmur, then it’s crucial that you tell them. Without a complete medical history, dentists can’t always ensure that a complication won’t arise later.
If you aren’t sure how to prepare or know the risks involved, learn today from a dentist in Owings Mills.
Why The Dentist Should Know About Heart Murmurs
It’s obvious that you’re not receiving heart surgery, but there’s a reason why dentists have been increasingly emphasizing the connection between the mouth and the body. For example, gum disease can allow oral bacteria to travel to different areas of the body, including the heart. If you have a pre-existing heart condition such as a heart murmur, you are inherently at a much higher risk of developing certain infections than other individuals.
Let’s say during your oral surgery that an infected tooth spreads bacteria and accesses your bloodstream. If this bacteria reaches your heart, it can stick to the heart valve or the lining of the heart. This infection is known as bacterial endocarditis and can lead to serious complications later, including heart failure and further leakage of the heart valve.
How Does the Dentist Prevent Complications?
Fortunately, some studies have shown the act of taking antibiotics prior to oral surgery to be very helpful in controlling and preventing infections. While antibiotics are not required for everyone undergoing oral surgery, you’ll still want to discuss your condition with the dentist so they can better prepare for your treatment. Most dentists prescribe an antibiotic tablet that’s taken about an hour before your surgery. It can also be injected into the bloodstream directly if you have trouble swallowing pills. You’ll also take an antibiotic after your surgery, but this is common for all individuals getting oral surgery, not just those with heart murmurs.
Are You at Risk?
If you aren’t sure if you’re at risk, the best thing you can do is speak with your doctor. They’ll know the specifics of your heart condition and what you need to do prior to any form of surgery. However, if you do have any of the following conditions, make sure both your doctor and the dentist are aware of it. These include:
- Prosthetic heart valves
- Any form of a congenital heart abnormalities
- A previous history of infective endocarditis
While there are many causes of heart murmurs, the American Heart Association believes these conditions to pose the greatest risk. If you suffer from a heart murmur, it is imperative that you also practice daily oral hygiene to prevent bacterial infection caused by dental plaque.
Stay prepared prior to your surgery. Schedule an appointment with your doctor and with a dentist in 21117 beforehand!
About the Author
Dr. Monica M. Mattson earned her DDS degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry. She’s always staying ahead of new information and research in the dental world in order to give patients the best dental care possible. To learn if you need antibiotics for your heart condition prior to surgery, you can contact her through her website.
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