Have you ever wondered why your dentist makes you fill out a detailed medical history form before your appointment?  Or how about why your dentist needs to take your blood…

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How Overall Health Impacts Dental Visits

Have you ever wondered why your dentist makes you fill out a detailed medical history form before your appointment?  Or how about why your dentist needs to take your blood pressure before beginning your dental work?

Just as your oral health can impact your overall health, your overall health can impact your oral health. It’s a two-way street—one that dentists take very seriously.

Here we’ll give you a glimpse of some of the things your dentist is looking for when gathering all of this information.

Osteoporosis

Some of the treatment needed for osteoporosis can affect the anatomical structure of your bone tissue. If a dentist does not know you are taking something for this, complications can ensue following surgical procedures. For instance, if you undergo a tooth extraction, the jaw bone might not properly heal if the right precautions were not taken. This could lead to bone infection.

Joint Replacements and Implants

If you have had a joint replacement or implant anywhere in your body, you could be at risk of infection. When bacteria that originates in your mouth enters your bloodstream during dental treatment, it could settle into the artificial joint or implant and cause infection.

However, if your dentist is aware of your joint replacement or implant, he/she can take the proper precautions before the treatment.

Diabetes

Diabetes can affect your ability to heal after a dental procedure. This applies both to insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent patients.

Dentists know how to cater their care toward diabetes patients, but they have to know you have the condition or else they will perform treatment as normal, which will be of no help to you.

Allergies

Your doctor will often ask you if you are allergic to any medicine. They do this so they don’t recommend you take something that may do you more harm than good. Dentists ask for the same reason. Make sure your dentist knows of any allergies so he/she can find the right ones to use for you.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects more than 2 out of 3 individuals over 75 years of age. It’s a common problem, especially among the elderly.

When checking patients for high blood pressure, dentists want to know how high your blood pressure is, how well it is being controlled and if you have other medical conditions that could be contributing to it. Abnormal blood pressure could lead to excessive bleeding and a continual rise in blood pressure during treatment. This could increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Before going to the dentist, take any medicine you use for your blood pressure as normal, but make sure you tell your dentist what you took. They’ll want to know before treatment, and they may also be able to recommend ways to help with dry mouth—as is the most common side effect of these medications.

Also, if the dental procedure you’re about to undergo requires the use of anesthesia, make sure it does not contain epinephrine. This is a common compound in local anesthesia products, but for some high blood pressure patients, it might cause cardiovascular changes like an even higher blood pressure, chest pain, heart attack and arrhythmias. It should be used with caution.

Chest Pain

Chest pain, also known as angina, is typically treated with channel blockers. Unfortunately, these can cause gum overgrowth. While gum overgrowth isn’t something you should be too worried about, in some extreme cases gum surgery may be required.

If you have unstable angina, you should not undergo nonessential dental procedures. And emergency dental care should only be performed in a hospital or office with cardiac monitoring capability.

If you have stable angina, you should be fine undergoing nonessential dental procedures. However, you’ll still want to tell your dentist about your condition and discuss the best options for you.

Stroke

Stroke patients typically have trouble with dry mouth and may have damage to their tongue, face or dominant hand and arm. Luckily, your dentist can help. If you have dry mouth—as a result of a stroke or otherwise—your dentist may recommend the use of artificial saliva. Likewise, if you’re having trouble with your face, tongue or dominant hand and arm, your dentist may recommend using fluoride gels, alternative brushing or flossing techniques and recommend ways other people can help you maintain good oral hygiene.

Heart Problems

If you have any kind of heart problem, your dentist needs to know about it.

Also, if you have had a heart attack, you must wait a minimum of six months after having the heart attack before having any dental treatments.

 

Dentists understand these conditions as far as they relate to dental. As long as you are open and honest about your medical and family history, you needn’t worry. Your dentist will know how to cater his/her dental treatment to you.

Do you have any of these conditions? What advice has your dentist given you regarding them and your oral health?

Natasha is 1Dental’s managing editor and copywriter, focusing content on dental and health news, advice and tips straight from the experts. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and has since been a book editor and now copywriter and managing editor on dental and health. You can find her on Twitter and all of 1Dental’s social networks.

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