The Importance of Dental Care For Transplant Recipients

Doctor Holding Heart Mold

Organ transplantation has revolutionized medical care, improving outcomes for individuals with failing organ function. Successful transplantation relies highly on advanced surgical techniques and immunosuppressive therapies. However, when chronic infections are routine, dental care becomes an overlooked aspect of their care. However, research has shown that oral diseases are considered one of the most prevalent problems in transplant patients, affecting up to 50 percent of people. Because of this massive oversight, pre-transplant dental care is crucial. 

Why Transplant Patients Should Care About Their Oral Health

Although there is no standard practice in the U.S. for dental evaluation before transplant procedures, studies have shown that addressing dental health before transplantation can help improve the outcome of successful transplants. Untreated dental and gingival diseases have been commonly associated with poor transplant outcomes, leading to triggers in the immune system, increased inflammation, and accelerated heart disease.

Dental hygiene is essential, especially when considering transplantation. If you’re looking into ways to help decrease your risks for transplantation, then here are some pre-transplant dental guidelines you should follow: 

  • Dental Cleanings: Make sure to get your regular dental cleaning and checkups twice a year, and consult your dentist before your scheduled transplantation. By consulting with your dentist about your upcoming surgery, your dentist can help provide preventive and treatment options to improve your surgical outcomes. 
  • Restorative Treatment: If you are currently experiencing problems with your oral health, then your dentist should provide treatment for those issues. This includes eliminating active dental diseases such as gum disease and removing non-restorable teeth with tooth extractions. 
  • Good Oral Hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene is especially important to improve the outcomes of your transplant surgery, as maintaining your teeth and gums can help decreases the risk of infections and other chronic diseases that may impact your transplantation. 
  • Antibacterial Mouthwash: It’s also recommended during this time to use antibacterial mouthwash as part of your oral hygiene routine, as mouthwash can help reduce the risks of infections from dental diseases. 

All of these tips are essential for maintaining a positive outlook for your transplantation, as many bacterial infections could potentially affect your outcomes, with one of the rarest being endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the heart valve that can occur after organ transplantation. While the risk of developing endocarditis is extremely low, some centers are cautious about the side effects of antibiotics.

Visit University Oral Surgery Center For a Consultation Today

Maintaining good dental hygiene is crucial for all patients with chronic diseases, and all dental diseases should be addressed before transplantation to minimize the risks of complications due to immunosuppressive therapies. If you would like to learn more about how to best manage your oral health for situations like this, or need to visit an oral surgeon for more complex dental procedures, then our team at University Oral Surgery Center can provide the treatments you need. At our practice in Los Angeles, CA, our team works under Dr. Ramin Shabtaie to provide you with the best dental care possible. For more information about our treatments and services, call our practice at (310) 208-3471 to learn more. 

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