If you’ve recently been informed that you need to have an operation for cancer, a hip replacement or other major surgery, you’ll likely be advised to attend a dental check up.
Many don’t expect this to be the first stage of their preparation for surgery, but it makes perfectly good sense. Here’s why you should see a dentist before your operation:
Loose crowns and fillings
If your operation is going to involve general anaesthetic, you will require a breathing tube. When this is inserted, it can have the potential to knock against teeth, meaning that any loose teeth, fillings or crowns could become dislodged.
Of course, these can’t be remedied until you are discharged, and even then there might be limitations on when you can undergo dental treatment. Getting your teeth looked at in plenty of time before your surgery will highlight any problems.
We’ve mentioned in the past how the mouth is the gateway to the body. If you have an infection in your mouth, such as gum disease or an abscess, which is left untreated, it can enter the bloodstream and raise your risk of all kinds of problems from heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease.
However, if you’re going in for cancer treatment your immunity will likely be decreased, making you more susceptible to infection taking hold. This could ultimately mean you can’t complete your treatment or could simply make your struggle even harder.
If you’re going in for an operation on your heart or for a joint replacement, you are also at risk of developing associated infections should you have problems brewing in your mouth. Thankfully infections of new joints are rare, but they are possible nonetheless. It’s the same with heart surgery; another rare yet serious condition called bacterial endocarditis can develop. This sees the lining of the heart become infected, causing complications.
Planning for aftercare
It’s a great feeling to be discharged from hospital following an operation, but it’s important to realise that it might be a while before you’re back to normal.
If you’re still undergoing tests or medication, it’s likely that you won’t be able to resume invasive dental treatment for a while. This is particularly the case with those undergoing prolonged treatment and aftercare following cancer therapy and could mean you aren’t able to have dental repairs done for a significant amount of time.
That’s why it pays to know your teeth are in a good and stable condition before you undergo intensive surgery or a hospital operation.
Similarly, if you’re pregnant or are trying to become pregnant, we recommend you come in to see us for a check up so that we can spot and remedy any problems while we are able.
Book your pre-surgery dental check up today
So if you haven’t had your teeth checked recently but are going into hospital soon, and even if you haven’t been formally advised to have a check up but will be undergoing surgery, we recommend you come in to see us at our Notting Hill dentist. Not all problems are detectable without an X-ray or thorough dental exam, so let us put your mind at ease.