Why is your blood pressure important at the dentist?
When you become a new patient at our office, we ask about your dental and medical history. Dental history is important so we know what experiences and procedures you have had in the past. Medical history is important because there are number of ways it can impact your dental health and how we go about any treatment that is needed.
If you need a dental procedure that requires local anesthesia, we need to make sure you are in good health. In most dental anesthetics, small amounts of epinephrine are added to help the numbness last longer. This means fewer injections and less trauma to the area. However, the trace amounts of epinephrine may increase your heart rate and blood pressure. For individuals with already elevated blood pressure, this can be potentially dangerous. That is why we encourage you to maintain regular physicals and why we ask about your medical history. When in doubt, we will consult with your physician before beginning treatment.
In the past, there have been studies that link heart health and gum disease. While the conclusions are still a little unclear, we know that high blood pressure puts extra stress on your body. We also know that certain medications can cause dry mouth and change the pH of your saliva. This is turn can affect your ability to fight cavities. So if your physician has you taking blood pressure medication, we want to know so we can stay proactive and preventative with your dental care. This could mean extra instructions at home, different tooth pastes or rinses, or even more frequent dental cleanings and exams. Always be sure to let us know about any new medications you are taking.
We are definitely interested in your dental and overall health. And in order for us to provide the best possible care, we need to make sure we know what is going on with your overall health. We are happy to work together with any of your other doctors to formulate the best possible care for your individual situation.