Dental procedures and subsequent prosthetic joint infections: Findings from the medicare current beneficiary survey

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Background. The publication of the 2009 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons' (AAOS') guidelines for antibiotic prophylaxis after joint replacement (arthroplasty) has renewed debate concerning appropriate prophylaxis for dental patients. The authors examined an administrative data set to assess whether dental procedures were associated with prosthetic joint infections (PJIs). Methods. Using data for the years 1997 through 2006 from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS), the authors identified participants who had undergone total joint arthroplasty and those who had experienced a PJI. They explored associations between dental procedures and subsequent PJIs by using time-to-event analyses (N = 1,000). A nested case-control study included case participants who had had PJIs (n = 42) and matched control participants who had had total arthroplasty but had no PJIs (n = 126). The authors calculated hazard ratios (HRs) and odds ratios (ORs). Results. Control participants (people without PJIs) were more likely than were case participants (those with PJIs) to have undergone an invasive dental procedure, though this trend was not statistically significant in either the time-to-event analysis (HR = 0.78; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.18-3.39) or the case-control analysis (OR = 0.56; 95 percent CI, 0.18-1.74). Only four of 42 case participants had undergone an invasive dental procedure in the 90 days before the infection occurred. Consideration of all dental procedures yielded similar results. Conclusions. Dental procedures were not associated significantly with subsequent risk for PJIs, although this study's power was somewhat low. The clinical importance of prophylactic antibiotics in dentistry for patients who have undergone joint arthroplasty, therefore, may be questioned. Clinical Implications. These results support the view that the 2009 AAOS Information Statement on antibiotic prophylaxis for people with prosthetic joints should be reconsidered for patients in that population who are receiving oral health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1343-1351
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Antibiotic prophylaxis
  • Dental procedures
  • Prosthetic joint arthroplasty
  • Prosthetic joint infection


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