Perioperative Dental Evaluation



Typically, a patient's intraoral condition is not a chief perioperative concern. The need for proper dental care is often unmet prior to a surgical procedure. Consequently, patients presenting for surgery may possess untreated decayed teeth and/or periodontal disease. These individuals may be harboring a quiescent and potent odontogenic infection. In the perioperative period, the deleterious effects of such an infection can not only compromise surgical outcome, but also magnify treatment and expenses. This article will elaborate on the connection between oral health and systemic disease, and discuss the barriers that exist with improving oral health. It will review pertinent dental nomenclature and anatomy, as well as emphasize the practice and value of a preoperative dental evaluation. Various compromised intraoral conditions are presented among a range of patient populations. The importance of treating an acute odontogenic infection before surgery is also discussed. Healthcare providers who recognize significant perioperative dental conditions can implement effective and preventive actions that can contain costs and achieve optimal patient care. Mt Sinai J Med 79:34–45, 2012.© 2012 Mount Sinai School of Medicine