Do I need antibiotics before dental implant surgery?

I went to two different dentists for opinions on having some mini dental implants placed to retain a lower denture. The first one told me that I needed to premedicate with an antibiotic before the surgery, because of a hip replacement that I had 10 years ago. But when I asked the second dentist about this, he said I didn’t need to. Who is right here?
– Hazel from Colorado

Dear Hazel,
There has always been some controversy surrounding this subject in the dental and medical community. Once you have had a hip replacement you could be at risk for developing an infection in these joints. Any bacteria introduced into the bloodstream through a dental cleaning or invasive dental procedure could travel to the artificial joint and cause an infection. Until recently, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommended that antibiotics be given prior to any invasive dental treatment including professional dental cleanings. But as recent as December 18, 2012 the AmericanAcademy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Dental Association (ADA) released a new document, based on recent studies, stating that there is no direct evidence to make this recommendation. So that sounds like it is the source of the discrepancy.

There could be other reasons a dentist feels more comfortable with you being on antibiotics before dental implant surgery. Besides the possibility of infection getting to the replaced hip joint, there is a possibility of infection in the bone, from the implant surgery. While Dr. Sirin doesn’t do the implant surgery, he wouldn’t have a problem with either approach.

By the way, there are other possibilities for affordable dental implants besides going with mini implants. Mini implants remain somewhat controversial, because they simply aren’t very strong. If you want to make dental implants affordable, a more stable option could be just placing two implants to help retain a lower denture that would be what we call a snap-on denture. I’d look into that possibility.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist Dr. Steve Sirin.

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