One of my patients who I hadn’t seen in a few years came in to see me for treatment. She brought with her a letter from her physician of which I will share. It goes as follows:
“RE: Pre-Transplant Dental Evaluation
Thank you for agreeing to evaluate patient______________ as you know, this individual is currently being evaluated as a potential kidney transplant recipient. Because there are a number of well documented risk and potential complications associated with dental disease during post transplant period, this evaluation represents a critical component of our pre-transplant evaluation procedures……”
Finally it stated “Perhaps you could also reiterate our concerns regarding the importance of meticulous dental care after transplantation, and reinforce this with our recommendation for meticulous plaque control”.
I am upset that one of my patients has to become a candidate to receive a kidney transplant, however, I am always pleasantly surprised when physicians are aware and understand the connection between the oral cavity and the rest of the body. I know that this patient will be in good hands.
In this day and age, anyone who is going to be a recipient of any type of transplant or knee and hip replacement surgeries and the like, must ensure that part of the preparation for the surgery includes getting a thorough dental examination and treating for any infections in the mouth, lest they spread elsewhere and cause complications for the surgery.
Most of us forget that the area of the body laden with the most bacteria is the oral cavity, the mouth. Often people who have bleeding gums, usually, they don’t bleed all of the time, but on occasion. Also, when your gums bleed it doesn’t hurt, so we are inclined not to pay attention to it. Unfortunately, the same areas that are bleeding are the entryway for the bacteria to enter the blood stream and cause problems and disease in other areas of the body. Heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, lung disease, even premature low birth weight infants are linked to infections in the mouth. Though we often fail to pay attention to the mouth, it really is one of the most important areas of the body to devote time to ensure it’s health. The health of your entire body can stem from your mouth.
I feel comfortable that the patient made a very good choice choosing a conscientious physician who is up to date on the latest research and most importantly has her best interest at