There are two types of heart valve defects: a narrowing of a valve (stenosis) and a leak in a valve that allows blood to flow backwards (regurgitation). There are 4 valves in the heart to keep the blood flowing in the right direction. You might need heart valve surgery if you have one of these defects and it's affecting your heart's ability to pump blood.
To replace a heart valve, your doctor removes the heart valve and replaces it with a mechanical valve or a valve made from cow, pig or human heart (biological valve). Biological valves often eventually need to be replaced, as they degenerate over time. Since mechanical valves are made from non biological materials, they are more prone to get infected from bacteria (such as periodontal bacteria) in the bloodstream.
Antibiotics are prescribed before any dental treatment to reduce chances of a replacement valve becoming infected from oral bacteria. Sometimes an anticoagulant such as Coumadin or Coumadin substitute (Pradaza, Eliquis, Xarelto) will be prescribed by your cardiologist to reduce the chances of a clot forming in the artificial valve.
At Britt Perio, we have effective methods to prevent oral bacteria from infecting replacement heart valves. We also have creative technologies to prevent invasive dental procedures that would require discontinuation of anticoagulants ….thus putting the patient at risk for clot formation in the artificial valve.