“Not another health form to fill out…it’s all the same!”
We often hear these words when we’ve asked patients to update their health history. It’s not that we are trying to be annoying nor nosy, and we understand that it takes up time doing paperwork, but it’s an important form to properly complete.
For you lucky ones who are very healthy, all you need to do is sign and date at the bottom of the form. Voilà! Done.
But for the rest of you who have or have had some health issues, disclosing this information may help to explain issues that you may be experiencing dentally or otherwise, and it will help us determine what the most appropriate care is for you. Even if the issues seem unrelated to your teeth, it’s important to disclose the information because they may be related to your oral health, or your overall health, in an unexpected way. Each of you is a whole person, not just a set of teeth, and your overall health is important. So please be thorough when you do your updates.
Below are several conditions plus related notes that may affect the oral cavity, and may help us determine proper care at the dental appointment:
- people with certain heart conditions may need to take antibiotics prior to dental work to prevent an infection within the heart due to the potential for bacteria to enter the bloodstream during dental treatment
- people on certain heart medications may have side effects that manifest in the oral cavity such as increased gum inflammation and bleeding.
- people who have recently had heart surgery may need to hold off on dental treatment.
- side effects may manifest in the oral cavity such as gum inflammation or dry mouth which may increase the risk of cavities and periodontal disease.
- examples of medications that may affect the oral cavity include blood pressure, heart, cholesterol, asthma and anti-seizure medications.
- may increase the chance of getting cavities as well as gum inflammation.
- mouth-breathing can cause dry mouth.
- Biotene products and Xylamelts may soothe the discomfort associated with dry mouth.
- diabetics are more prone to gum inflammation, and therefore are more prone to bleeding.
- diabetics may heal more slowly than non-diabetics.
- diabetics are more prone to developing other inflammatory diseases.
- cancer patients who have undergone radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be immunocompromised and may also be suffering from dry mouth.
- some major surgeries may require a postponement of dental treatment or may require pre-medication prior to dental work to prevent possible infection.
- some surgeries may affect mobility and the ability to brush and floss.
- we can suggest alternative ways to cleanse if needed.
UNCONTROLLED HIGH OR LOW BLOOD PRESSURE
- Uncontrolled blood pressure may be life-threatening, and so the top priority is to see a physician to help get it to a safe level.
JOINT REPLACEMENT SURGERIES
- the American Heart Association and the American Dental Association no longer recommend Pre-medication with antibiotics for most joint replacements but it’s IMPORTANT TO CONSULT WITH YOUR SURGEON that determine what is best for you PRIOR TO YOUR DENTAL TREATMENT APPOINTMENT.
ALCOHOL AND CAFFEINE USAGE
- high alcohol usage provides high exposure of the oral tissues, the esophagus and the stomach.
- tissues with high exposure to alcohol may be associated with increased risk of oral pathologies as well as gastrointestinal inflammation and reflux.
- high intake of caffeine prior to having dental work requiring local anesthetic may cause the anesthetic to not be as effective.
ALLERGIES TO MEDICATIONS
- it’s imperative that we know about any allergies to medications and anesthetics for your safety.
Again, each of you is unique with specific health conditions, so it’s important to keep your health history form current. We all need to be responsible, and do our utmost to make sure we have all the information necessary to provide proper care for you.