We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
For more information, go to

For how long after a hip replacement do I need to keep my dentist informed?

Q) During the post-operative follow-up after a hip replacement, the consultant recommended that in the event that I had a tooth extracted, I should advise the dentist about this, since the dentists may want to cover this with antibiotics. Does this advice just refer to the post-op period or continually?
C E Hawker, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire (Winter 2009)

A) I know that surgeons who do artificial joints are worried about them becoming infected, as this can lead to failure of the implant. Hence, the surgery is carried out in a clean-air environment with sterile technique and the surgeon won't proceed if there's any infection, such as a leg ulcer. This is a long-winded way of explaining the problem with pulling teeth. The mouth is full of bacteria and when a tooth is pulled a good number of these are released into the blood stream. If there's a vulnerable place in the circulation where they might settle, and faulty heart valves are usually the main worry, then it's standard practice to give antibiotic cover for the extraction. I haven't heard of orthopaedic surgeons worrying about this procedure but I can understand why they might. As to the duration of this precaution, I suspect no one knows the answer, but to err on the side of caution it seems reasonable to continue to follow this advice.

For more information, go to or call 0300 790 0400 to order the complete printed booklet.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.