Going to your doctor and going to your dentist may seem like two entirely separate events with no connection to each other. However, your oral health can affect your overall health, and your overall health can affect your oral health, too. They are connected in ways that many patients don’t consider, but as dentists, we need all the information we can get about your health.
When you go to a new dentist, it’s extremely important to fill out the medical history forms as completely and accurately as possible, and to also be honest with your dentist if they ask you any questions about your medical status.
In addition, if anything about your health changes, including addition or removing medications, you should let your dentist know before any type of dental service, including a checkup, cleaning, or treatment.
Certain Medications Can Affect Your Oral Health
Hundreds of common prescription and over-the-counter medications have a common side effect: dry mouth. Experiencing dry mouth can be more than just an annoyance that has you sipping on water more frequently—it can also harm your oral health. When your mouth gets dry, you’re at greater risk of cavities, and you may even have trouble swallowing your food.
By letting your dentist know about all the medications you’re taking, he or she will know ahead of time that you may be experiencing dry mouth and other side effects that can make you more likely to experience tooth decay, oral infections, and other possible complications.
Blood Thinners Can Put You at Risk During Certain Procedures
Another medication to always tell your dentist about is a blood thinner. Many health conditions require the usage of blood thinners, but they can make bleeding much more severe and difficult to stop. Certain types of dental procedures, including some routine cleanings, can result in bleeding.
Normally, bleeding stops quickly, but people who take blood thinners may require additional preparation and intervention to stop it. This also applies to people who have conditions that make it difficult for them to stop bleeding, including hemophilia.
Some Health Conditions Can Impair Oral Healing
When dentists come up with treatment plans for various oral health problems, they need to know how well and how quickly patients can be expected to heal. Conditions such as heart disease and diabetes can affect healing time, causing it to take longer and be less effective than in patients who don’t have those conditions. If you have a condition that interferes with healing, your dentist may need to consider a different treatment plan to accommodate it.
Allergies Must Be Accounted for Before Dental Appointments
Some patients are allergic to latex, which is the material that most medical gloves are manufacturing with. Others are allergic to certain types of anesthetics, including Novocain, which is used for many procedures. Finally, some patients are even allergic to fluoride, which may be in toothpastes and rinses used during cleanings.
Dentists can’t possibly know what patients are allergic to unless they tell them, so be sure to fill out that section fully and completely before your first appointment or if you learn of a new allergy.
Your Blood Pressure and Pulse May Be Taken
Some dental procedures require taking patients’ blood pressure and pulse. Many health conditions can impact both, so it’s important to let your dentist know ahead of time if you have a condition that could result in high or low blood pressure or heartrate.
Supplements Aren’t Irrelevant and Should Always Be Listed
Many people assume that herbal supplements, vitamins, and minerals purchased from health food stores and supermarkets are safe, harmless, and don’t need to be listed or pointed out to their dentists or doctors. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many supplements can have similar effects on the body as FDA-approved medications, and you should always let your dentist know about any supplements you take.
Drug Usage Can Impact Your Treatment
When filling out your patient history form, you’ll see a section asking about previous or current drug usage. It’s important to be honest when filling out this section. Certain types of drugs, including tobacco and alcohol, can create a greater likelihood of experiencing oral health problems, and they can also enhance the risk of certain complications and the need to use additional anesthetic during procedures.
Request a Judgment-Free Appointment Today
At 101st Adult Dentistry, we’re 100% non-judgmental about any and all health issues our patients have when they visit us. We ask for information solely to provide the best possible treatments with the least risk of side effects and complications.
If you’re ready to take control of your oral health, we’re here to help. Request an appointment today with our team of dental experts.