The immune system can't see bacteria resting on inorganic (ceramic, metal, or plastic) implants, so no white blood cells come to attack and kill them off. As a result, if you have an implant and don't take antibiotics before going to the dentist, harmful bacteria thrive and you can get a whopper of an infection. Also, if you have a hip replacement, over time a bacterial film can build up in and around the hip replacement joint, and that can begin to loosen the joint and cause other problems.
Get a prescription for the antibiotics from your orthopedic surgeon or dentist. You'll be instructed to take four or five pills all at once an hour before your teeth cleaning or other dental procedure. Those antibiotics decrease the likelihood of bacteria surviving in your bloodstream, but they can give your guts a run for their money—and the runs. Your best bet to prevent an upset stomach is to take a daily dose of probiotics a couple of days before, the day of, and for at least a week after you go to the dentist. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are strains found in yogurt that are added to soy products and in supplements. We recommend Digestive Advantage or Sustenex (they have armor-like shells that hold up through stomach acid) and Culturelle, a probiotic that actually gets turned on by stomach acid. Now smile—and get your teeth cleaned.