When we discover one of our patients is about to undergo an organ transplant or has in the past, we know it’s time to take special care of their oral health. While it’s not a common concern discussed during your preparation for a transplant, keeping your oral health in order is critical. Living with an organ transplant comes with special concerns that can’t be avoided or overlooked. Most prominently is the need for ongoing immunosuppressive therapy. This therapy impacts the entire body and its ability to defend against disease. This is essential as the body will attack anything it recognizes as being a foreign object, including the transplanted organ. This makes Kid’s World Pediatric Dental an essential part of your child’s care if they have, or are preparing to undergo, an organ transplant.
How Their Oral Health Impacts The Transplant Success Rates
Preparing your child for an organ transplant is very emotionally difficult. Along with the excitement about your child receiving a much-needed organ, there’s the fear of what happens if the transplant isn’t successful. To ensure that your child has the best chance of a successful transplant procedure, it’s essential to get their oral health in line. Studies have shown that patients struggling with oral health concerns often have lower success rates when undergoing these procedures. This is due to the nature of gum disease and tooth decay.
When discussing these concerns, the primary focus of the conversation is often on diet and proper oral hygiene practices. Less discussed is the underlying cause of both tooth decay and gum disease. This cause is the Streptococcus mutans, which is responsible for both conditions. Tooth decay and gum disease both represent an infection caused by this microorganism. Any infection in the body triggers the immune system, increases inflammation, and can lead to problems with heart disease. One form of infection, endocarditis, is associated with oral health concerns that have gone untreated. Endocarditis is an infection of the heart valve that sometimes occurs following a transplant.
There are a few tips and tricks that you can use to ensure your child has the best chance of a successful transplant; these include:
- Regular Professional Cleanings – Professional cleanings are generally part of your child’s oral health visits. They help remove any remaining plaque or tartar that may have been missed during brushing. This is a common problem in younger patients. Eliminating these biofilms reduces the risk of infection, while polishing the teeth helps prevent them from recurring.
- Restoration Dentistry – Restoration dentistry can occur in cases where your child has a tooth that has become broken, chipped, or cracked. These features make it more likely that the tooth will become infected, putting your child’s health at risk in the wake of a transplant.
- Comprehensive Oral Hygiene Routines – Now more than ever, it’s essential that you keep your child on a strict oral hygiene routine. This routine should include flossing, brushing, and using antibacterial mouthwash to keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay.
Contact Kid’s World Pediatric Dental To Learn More
Our team is ready to stand by you through this challenging but exciting time. We’ll ensure that your child’s oral health is in good shape and that they’re protected from decay and gum disease in the future. Call us at (210) 787-1200 today, and together we’ll provide them with the information, tools, and treatments to keep their smile and brand-new organ healthy for years.