If you are a candidate for an organ transplant, visiting the dentist may be the last thing on your mind. But it should be one of the first. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, organ transplant patients face an increased risk of serious dental problems. For this reason, patients must take extra care before and after undergoing transplant surgery. Prior to the procedure, patients should take care of any outstanding issues with their teeth, gums or mouth. Schedule an appointment with your dentist for a complete examination to identify any signs of cavities or gum disease and have these issues taken care of before the transplant. According to NIDCR, taking care of dental problems in advance “can help prevent or reduce the side effects of transplant medicines.”
Once the transplant is complete, NIDCR suggests that patients be aware of new problems that may occur in the mouth, including dry mouth, ulcers, enlarged gums, fungus infections and tumors. These issues often crop up once a person’s immune system has been lowered by the anti-rejection medications taken for the transplant. If any problems do arise, it is important to contact a dentist on your True Care Advantage dental plan and get treatment. Give the dentist a list of all your medications and have him or her communicate with your transplant doctor. The three of you can work together to ensure both your physical and oral health needs are met.