If you've been waiting for an organ transplant and have learned that you may be receiving an organ soon, you're probably overjoyed. However, there may be one more step before you can have your operation: you may need to see your dentist. Read on to learn why a dentist's visit is a necessity and what that visit might entail.
Looking for Infection Risk
Most doctors and surgeons will recommend that you visit a dentist prior to having an organ transplant. This is because poor oral health, gum disease, or infected teeth can potentially put your entire health at risk following an organ transplant.
Organ transplants typically require the patient to go on medications to suppress the immune system following the transplant. Most patients have to continue taking these medications for the rest of their lives. While this prevents the immune system from attacking the new organ you've received, it can also inhibit your immune system from attacking normal infections, too. If you have an oral health problem, your dentist should care for it before you have your operation. Chances are you'll need a clean bill of overall health to confirm that you don't currently have a cold or other illness, so seeing a dentist is a normal part of this process.
Extracting Infected Teeth
Not all organ transplant patients need to have teeth pulled, but it's often the best and easiest way to squash an infection prior to an operation. Since most organs need to be transplanted as quickly as possible, time is of the essence. If your dentist discovers that you have a cavity, gum disease, or an infected tooth, they may decide to pull the affected teeth.
Maintaining Oral Health Prior to Transplant
Even if you're not at the top of the transplant list or you don't have an organ on its way, you should work with your dentist to maintain your oral health. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy will shorten the time you have to spend having your mouth taken care of before you can have your transplant. If you've been doing a good job of maintaining your oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly, there's a good chance that a simple exam and cleaning is all that will be necessary before you can have your operation.
If you're getting ready for an organ transplant, this will most likely be your happiest visit to the dentist ever. Be prepared for an in-depth cleaning, and if problems are found, possibly dental extractions, in order to receive a clean bill of oral health. For more information, visit a clinic like Renovo Endodontic Studio.