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Your Healthy Family: How an issue in your mouth can halt other needed medical procedures

Posted at 9:40 AM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 11:40:58-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — In this Your Healthy Family, we’re following up on the systemic connection between the health of your mouth and the health of your body. Dentists often work with other doctors when it comes to people being able to safely have other medical procedures done.

Dr. Fred Guerra, with Guerra Dental in Colorado Springs, tells me “In a lot of cases we get a letter from an orthopedic surgeon or some other type of surgeon - that wants us to assess, rule out and treat if needed any issues in the mouth that could complicate surgeries.”

You’ve likely heard the song “Dem Bones”, you know - “The foot bone's connected to the leg bone, the leg bone's connected to the knee bone.” Turns out the tooth bone is connected to the hip bone.

Dr. Guerra says, “I just saw a patient and had to remove a couple of teeth because the infection from those teeth was deemed too much. She was getting ready to undergo hip surgery in a couple of weeks and that was part of the deal. The doctor wanted to make sure that no oral infections might contribute to complications of her hip surgery.”

It's just one of the many reasons it’s so important to see a dentist twice a year, not only to have your teeth regularly and professionally cleaned, but to have the overall health of your mouth evaluated.

Dr. Guerra says, “As dentists we need to intervene because we may have a patient who is symptomatic or asymptomatic, but has things going on. It behooves us to intervene and do that risk assessment. Is a patient low risk, moderate risk or high risk for developing systemic conditions because of what we’re seeing in the mouth?”

It’s also why dentists and hygienist are continually encouraging people to brush and floss regularly and keep your mouth clean and healthy. Not only will it keep your smile beautiful, and your breath fresh, but it’s also to make sure your mouth isn’t the source of troubles for the rest of your body.

Dr. Guerra says, “At the forefront of that front line defense is the dental hygienist who comes in and checks the pocket depths of your gums on each tooth. It’s part of assessing the amount of bacteria in the mouth and is the patient at risk of developing other problems. The hygienist is very well trained and they conduct the assessment that allows them to determine the protocols needed to prevent you from having other problems, like puffy gums and bad breath and those things. It also prevents that information from going everywhere else in your body.”

If you have any questions about the health of your teeth and gums make sure to follow up with a trusted dentist. Dr. Guerra and his staff also welcome your phone calls if you have any questions.

Guerra Dental is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family