Shoulder Replacement? What Happens If You Don’T Take Antibiotics Before Going To The Dentist

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a person with a total joint replacement should take antibiotics before going to the dentist for any invasive procedures. This is because this puts you at risk of developing hematogenous infections where your prosthetic is located. Below is what can happen to you if you fail to take your antibiotics, as well as the treatment you will receive.

Failed to Take Antibiotics

When you have an invasive dental procedure, low levels of bacterium can be found in your blood. Your blood can then send this bacterium to your artificial joint. Once this happens, the joint will become infected. Your body would find it very hard to fight off this infection because there is a lack of vessels that supply blood to the artificial joint because it is made of either steel or plastic.

You would have symptoms like swelling of the shoulder area, increased stiffness or pain, fatigue, night sweats, chills, and fever.

Your orthopedic surgeon can explain this to you in much more detail. The amount of antibiotics you will have to take depends on the type of procedure you have, and is up to your orthopedic doctor.


Your doctor will take bone scans and X-rays to help them determine if you actually do have an infection. They may also take a blood test. The sooner it is diagnosed, the chances are increased that you can retain the implant.

If the doctor finds the infection is not deep into the joint, they may prescribe oral or IV (intravenous) antibiotics.

If the doctor finds the infection has reached deep into the joint, you will require surgery. They will washout the joint, which is called debridement, to remove infected soft tissue.

Physical Therapy

Once the treatment is finished and you are finished with the antibiotics, your doctor may suggest you see a physical therapist. They can help you get your shoulder function back and increase range of motion if you have problems in this area.

The physical therapist will likely ask you to do exercises at home also. It is important that you do these for the best outcome. Your doctor will work along with the physical therapist to determine how long you will have to have it.

As soon as you start feeling pain in your shoulder area that you did not have before, make an appointment to see your orthopedic surgeon immediately.

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