Dental Care After Spine Surgery
Spine surgery is the most effective way to treat chronic back, neck, and leg pain. When performed correctly, the surgery is often very effective, with a low rate of recurring back pain. If back pain does come back, in any form, it is considered failed spine surgery.
When spine surgery does “fail,” it is usually due to some measurable issue. For example, perhaps a bone graft did not heal properly, or an adjacent segment started to break down after surgery. But in some cases, it may be due to relatively harmless lifestyle habits, including routine dental procedures.
How Dental Care Can Affect Infection and Cause Failed Back Surgery
Dental care is important for maintaining your health. But there may be extra steps for those that underwent certain types of spine surgery. Although the risk is up for debate, there is some evidence that dental care within 2 years after surgery should be partner with preventative antibiotics.
This is because there is some evidence that the bacteria and pathogens that are swallowed during dental care may increase the risk of infection, possibly leading to failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). Recommendations are as follows:
- Spine Surgery With Implants – If you underwent cervical, lumbar, or any type of spine surgery with the use of implants (hardware, screws, and other metal or foreign objects), it is not recommended that you have any dental work done for 3 months, and that for 3 months to 2 years after surgery you take antibiotics before dental care to reduce infection risk.
- Spine Surgery Without Implants – If no implants were used with your spine surgery, risk is believed to be lower. Patients are still recommended to avoid dental care for 3 months after surgery. After 3 months, there are no current recommendations for antibiotics, unless you are immuno-compromised or instructed by your doctor.
It is important to mention any spine surgery to your dentist, as they may have their own recommendations for treatment. If you did have any cleanings or dental work done after back or neck surgery, and you have pain that seems to be developing stronger over time, it is highly recommended that you see a failed back surgery specialist, like Dr. Chappuis and his team at Spine Center Atlanta.
For a diagnosis to determine the cause of your back, leg, or neck pain, or to receive treatment recommendations, please call today at 404-620-5523.