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Engaging Dentists and Orthopedic Surgeons in Stewardship

Debra Goff, PharmD, discusses why it is critical to engage dentists and orthopedic surgeons in antimicrobial stewardship activities.

Interview transcript: (modified slightly for readability)

Contagion®: Why is it important to engage private practice dentists and orthopedic surgeons in stewardship?

Goff: We need to [engage private practice dentists and orthopedic surgeons in stewardship] to avoid patients being stuck in the middle of opposing antibiotic prophylaxis recommendations. The orthopedic surgeons, once they do a hip or knee replacement, will often tell their patients, “every time you go to the dentist for a cleaning or any work, you need to take antibiotic prophylaxis,” and some will even tell them for life.

The American Dental Association guidelines clearly state antibiotic prophylaxis is not necessary for the majority of patients, so, the patient is stuck in the middle saying “which doctor am I supposed to listen to?” — and that is never appropriate. And so, for the same reasons we do stewardship in the hospital—those principles apply to dental stewardship. It's for our patients.