by: Dr. Tom Swanlund
We all know the importance of visiting your dentist on a regular basis to maintain your oral health and prevent disease, but did you know that your dentist is also screening your overall health when you visit as well?
There may be times during your regular dental cleaning appointments your blood pressure and pulse are taken. Some people may wonder why a dental professional is concerned about this. It is vital to have a baseline blood pressure and pulse reading taken at the initial dental appointment and multiple times a year when a patient visits the dental office as this piece of information can give us an overall picture on the health of your cardiovascular system and whether routine dental care can be provided at that time.
Without this important piece of information, we really have no idea whether certain types of local anesthetics (freezing), laughing gas, sedation, or even laying back in the dental chair are contraindicated. Blood pressure and pulse are simple, quick screening tools that allow dental professionals to assess overall health and refer to a medical professional if needed. It has been shown that hypertension (elevated) blood pressure when caught early and treated can help prevent damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. Typically a patient visits their dental office more often than their physician so it only makes sense that dental professionals screen a patient's blood pressure and refer to other medical professionals accordingly.
Your oral care professional aims to prevent disease of the oral cavity and the rest of the body. Ask your dentist and dental hygienist to screen your blood pressure today!