The human body is an incredible physiologic machine that can be amazingly resilient when it receives the proper attention and care. That includes good nutrition, regular exercise, adequate rest, and a little TLC.
However, even under the best of circumstances, time marches on. Every year hundreds of thousands of people undergo heart valve replacement. And the number is expected to rise with the adoption of less invasive approaches. With the new techniques, we can all look forward to remaining physically active and avoiding the fatigue associated with reduced heart function in the future.
What Does Heart Valve Replacement Surgery Have To Do With Dentistry?
Dental disease can lead to dangerous complications during surgeries because infections in your gums or teeth contain harmful bacteria. And because the bacteria live in your mouth, they have easy access to your bloodstream.
Bacteria can find their way to your replacement heart valve.
And these infections are difficult to treat. Replacement heart valves are mechanical or made from tissue derived from human or animal donors. When you have a dental infection, the bacteria can contaminate the newly placed valve – with dire consequences.
In worst-case scenarios, your surgeon may have to perform surgery again – after the infection is gone.
Dental Clearance Is Necessary For Heart Valve Replacement Surgery
Most surgeons require dental clearance before surgery. However, last-minute paperwork and preadmission testing leading up to the “big day” is complicated, and things can fall through the cracks.
If a heart replacement is in your future, please see your dentist now. Surgery is never easy, and you don’t want to go through it twice because of an infection in your mouth!