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Is dental treatment safe after a heart attack or stroke?

Nov 14, 2012

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People suffering heart attacks or strokes have been advised for years to wait 30 days to six months before seeking dental treatment. But a recent study conducted by the University of Minnesota has surprised many experts with a different opinion.

The historic recommendations were based on the fear that dental procedures, particularly more invasive ones, resulted in bacteremia (the release of oral cavity bacteria into the bloodstream). 

The study’s authors reached a different conclusion, as noted in November’s The Journal of the American Dental Association. The report notes that there was minimal risk of a second vascular event, regardless of the type of dental procedure performed. The report added though, that the more invasive oral procedures should be evaluated on an individual basis based on their urgency.

This is good news for people that previously were routinely advised to avoid dental treatments of any kind after suffering a heart attack or stroke, even if the affected person was in considerable pain and in an emergency situation.

In the Minnesota study, researchers examined data from 50,329 Medicare participants in the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, identifying 2,035 that had suffered a vascular event and 445 that suffered a second event while in the survey. 

Utilizing hazard ratios (risks), the research team then evaluated associations between dental procedures performed 30, 60, 90 and 180 days after a first cardiac event and the hazard ratio of experiencing a second event.

Study results determined that most hazard ratios associated with dental procedures were minimal, but noted it may be prudent to postpone more invasive procedures for longer periods to avoid the possibility of bacteremia or other complications.


Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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