High blood pressure continues to be on the rise and currently affects over 1 in 4 Americans. Left untreated high blood pressure can lead to a whole host of health issues including heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. So let’s explore why more and more dental offices are taking your blood pressure.
Dental patients often see their dentist far more regularly than they will see their family doctor and it gives us the perfect opportunity to detect elevated blood pressure early. If our dental team can help you detect high blood pressure early, you and your family doctor can develop a plan to reduce your blood pressure helping avoiding the long term damage that hypertension often causes.
Your Overall Health
As a dental office our main focus is on your oral health but we always put your overall health first and sometimes that means telling a patient that their blood pressure it to high for us to safely treat them that day. For example many local anesthetics use vasoconstrictors, such as epinephrine which can cause a spike in blood pressure. Such drastic elevations in blood pressure can increase a patient’s risk of experiencing a stroke or a heart attack. As Dr. Gina Joshua Wright states “We hate having to postpone or refer our patients with very high blood pressure, but no dental procedure is worth the risk of a stroke or a heart attack.”
Will my dentist still treat me if I have high blood pressure?
Most dentists will not treat patients who have uncontrolled high blood pressure, especially if your numbers are at the Stage 2 or higher range for hypertension.
If you’re being treated for high blood pressure, it’s important for you to discuss your condition and your medications with your dentist before beginning any treatments. Most patients being treated for high blood pressure can still have dental procedures done safely as long as their blood pressure is being effectively treated with medication.
What if I already have high blood pressure?
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure by your family doctor, be sure to let your dental team know and to notify them of any medicine you have been prescribed. Additionally a significant number of blood pressure medications have undesired oral side effects such as dry mouth which can lead to severe tooth decay. If you are experiencing dry mouth let your dental team know so they can make recommendations to help limit the effects of a dry mouth.