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Dentist Visits Post Transplant: What Transplant Recipients Need to Know


Good dental hygiene is important for everyone but it’s especially important for transplant recipients because small infections in the mouth can spread to the rest of the body and anti-rejection medications can make the body more susceptible to the risk of infection. 

For this reason, the six-month time period following your transplant is critical.

According to guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association, it is recommended that no elective dental work, including cleanings, be done during the first six months following a heart, lung, liver, kidney or pancreas transplant. 

After six months, it is recommended that heart, lung, liver and kidney recipients seek routine exams and cleanings. 

For heart and lung transplant recipients, it is recommended that, prior to the dental appointment, patients take 500 mg of the antibiotic amoxicillin (four capsules).  

For liver and kidney transplant recipients, it is not necessary to take antibiotics prior to routine dental appointments from a transplant perspective; however, patients are advised to consult with their primary care doctor and dentist to determine whether antibiotics may be needed for other medical conditions, unrelated to the transplant.  

Should your primary care physician or dentist recommend taking an antibiotic before your dental appointment, here’s a partial list of medications that are acceptable to be given with immunosuppressive medications:

  • Amoxicillin (if allergic, an alternative antibiotic will be recommended by the transplant team)
  • Clindamycin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Doxycycline
  • Levaquin
    Pain Medications
  • Percocet
  • Tylenol #3

Whenever you have a dental appointment, please remember to let the dentist know you are a transplant recipient and share the medications that you are currently taking. 

Remember, your Penn transplant coordinator is available to answer any questions you may have. 

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The Penn Medicine Transplant blog features short postings with news about the transplant program at Penn Medicine, notices about upcoming events and health information. Subscribe to the blog and stay connected with Penn's Transplant Program!

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