DEAR DOCTOR K: I had knee replacement surgery several years ago. More recently, I had my hip replaced. I am scheduled to have a root canal next month. Do I need to take antibiotics before my dental procedure?
DEAR READER: Almost any type of dental work -- extractions, gum surgery, root canals, even routine cleanings -- can injure the gums and other soft tissues of the mouth. The most obvious evidence of this is that they bleed. Bacteria live inside our mouth. When gums are injured, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream.