Tooth Extraction Before Heart Surgery May Lead to Serious Consequences

What does your dental health professional want you to know about tooth extraction before heart surgery? 
Your dental health can often be a reflection of your overall health. Research has shown this repeatedly. Persons with gum disease seem to be more prone to heart disease, diabetes and other health issues. It is not always clear how these are related, for example, whether the gum disease contributes to health problems, or whether it is just a symptom of overall poor health.
Some recent research has uncovered the possibility of new risks for a common dental procedure that is often performed prior to heart surgery. It is normal for pre-surgery heart patients to be screened for dental issues that may contribute to infection or inflammation.

Tooth extraction due to infection has been thought to be a preventative measure normally taken before surgery. But new evidence suggests that this may in fact increase the risk of complications (and even death) for heart surgery patients.

A recent study of 205 patients who had teeth extracted prior to heart surgery revealed that 8 percent suffered either stroke, kidney failure, heart attack or death. Although it wasn’t entirely surprising, the numbers were high enough to cause concern.

All of this warrants further research. It is clear that poor oral health and heart disease are both symptoms of an overall unhealthy lifestyle; for example, smoking. Also, research shows that those who suffer from dental health issues have an increase of bacteria in their bloodstream, which contributes to potential heart problems.

Read Also: How Does Smoking Lead to Dental Problems?

The recent studies around teeth extraction and increased risk of complications and death, during or following heart surgery are less clear, however, and will need to be explored further. In the interim, doctors will have to take extra care to assess their patient’s dental health in respect to treatment of heart disease. Whether this means putting off procedures such as teeth extraction or simply exercising increased caution remains to be seen.

This is a reminder that your dental health is related to your overall health. Good preventative oral care and addressing dental issues right away, as well as making healthy lifestyle choices, can ultimately lead to better health overall.

The issue of how tooth removal impacts cardiac care will no doubt be researched and explored further. It is advisable that you communicate any dental issues to your cardiologist if you are starting care. If you have any concerns about dental treatment and how it may impact any health conditions, contact your doctor.