We investigated the prevalence and risk factors for preoperative dental clearance failure in joint arthroplasty patients. Over a 5-month period, all patients scheduling total joint arthroplasty completed a dental questionnaire. Data collected included demographics, medical and dental history, dental hygiene practices, frequency of dental care, and results of dental clearance. Of the 300 patients, 35 (12%) failed dental clearance. Risk factors included tobacco use, poor flossing habits, history of tooth extraction, age, narcotic use, and lack of a dentist visit within 12 months. Of 189 patients who lacked the 3 least prevalent risk factors (tobacco use, narcotic use, no dental visit within 12 months), 11 (6%) failed dental clearance. Selective dental clearance based on patient risk stratification may be a reasonable approach.