Why Our Calgary Dentist May Take Your Blood Pressure At Your Next Dental Visit.

Why Our Calgary Dentist May Take Your Blood Pressure At Your Next Dental Visit.

By Advance Your Health Dental | Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S. | Calgary Dentist

You may be surprised to learn that at your next dental appointment at our Calgary dental office, we may ask if we can take your blood pressure. Although patients may expect this at their physician’s office, it may seem out of the ordinary at a dental office. Here’s a breakdown of why we have implemented this protocol at our dental office.

1.   Elevated Blood Pressure May Cause Us To Recommend That Your Dental Treatment Be Delayed

At the beginning of your dental visit, we will conduct a thorough review of your medical history, including your medications and any current health issues you may be experiencing. If you report to us that you suffer from hypertension or are being treated for hypertension, we will recommend that we take your blood pressure.  Although we always strive to ensure our patients are as comfortable and relaxed as possible at their dental appointments, it is not unusual for the anticipation of dental work to cause some feelings of stress. Sometimes, stress can cause an increase in blood pressure which, coupled with pre-existing high blood pressure, can potentially create a dangerous or even life-threatening situation.

If your blood pressure is elevated, we may retake your blood pressure after waiting 5 to 10 minutes to see whether the elevation in your blood pressure was due to temporary anxiety and has comes down. We may also ask if you if your blood pressure is normally high and when was the last time you discussed your blood pressure with your physician.  If your blood pressure remains high after a second reading, we will discuss with you whether it is safe to proceed with dental treatment on that day or whether your dental treatment should be deferred.  We may also recommend that you make an appointment to discuss your hypertension with your family physician.  

2.   High Blood Pressure May Affect Our Dentist’s Choice of Local Anaesthetic

Most local anesthetics used at the dental office contain epinephrine. Epinephrine prolongs the numbing effect of the local anaesthetic by lowering the rate of absorption. This ensures that your dental treatment can be completed comfortably and painlessly. Epinephrine can also reduce toxicity and control bleeding.  It is also a vasoconstrictor, which means it constricts your blood vessels which can cause your blood pressure to increase.   If we know that you suffer from high blood pressure, then our Calgary dentist can adjust both the type and dosage of local anaesthetic used to ensure there are no adverse consequences to the use of a local anesthetic containing epinephrine. 

3.   We’re An Important Part Of Your Healthcare Team

As part of your total healthcare team, we see our role as not only caring for your oral health, but also as an important element in ensuring your best overall health.  As such, at every visit we will review with you your medical history, including any prescription and non-prescription drugs you may be taking, whether you are currently undergoing any treatment for any diseases or conditions, whether you are under the regular care of a physician and whether you have any particular medical concerns which could impact any recommended dental treatment.  As part of our medical history review, if you report any concerns relating to hypertension, we will also take your blood pressure. Because we see you every six months (we hope so!), if your blood pressure is higher than what would be considered normal for you, we can alert you to this so that you can make an appointment with your family physician and take the necessary steps to regulate your blood pressure and hopefully avoid a more urgent and serious situation, including a stroke or a heart attack.

If you have any questions about our medical screening at our Calgary dentist office, or if you have any concerns regarding your dental health, please call our dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, at 403.283.4252 for an appointment.  It would be our privilege to be your partner in your dental and overall health.  Call us today!

Please be advised that this blog post is for informational purposes only.  It is not to be taken or used as a substitute for dental, medical or other professional advice, treatment or diagnosis.  Always ask your dentist, physician or other healthcare professional for advice before altering your diet or healthcare routine.  Individual patient needs and oral healthcare concerns vary so please consult your dentist for more informtion about your specific dental health requirements.

Copyright: Dirk A. Thompson Professional Corporation operating as Advance Your Health Dental.  Dr. Dirk A. Thompson, D.D.S., is a general dentist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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