• Dr. Saumitra Saravana

What to Share with your Dentist?



Why is it important to share your health history with your Dentist?

It is so easy to forget to disclose information about your health and medications to your Dentist. After all, its only going to the 'Dentist' and most people are only coming in to get their teeth cleaned or a filling or something simple. But the mouth is a part of your body and the medicines we use at the Dental office will affect your overall health. In most cases these medicines are completely benign and safe but every once in a while they will affect you adversely.

So why do you need to share your information?

The first and most obvious reason is that your health information is important for us to know in the event of an emergency. Should you have an medical emergency in the Dental Office it is important for us and the EMS staff to know your health problems and the medicines you are on. We need to know if you have any allergies to medicines so we do not prescribe them to you!

The second reason is a lot of our elderly patients are on a bunch of different medicines. Think about this, the elderly who make up about 15% of our patient pool, take about a third of all the drugs prescribed in this country. Many of these drugs can interact in hazardous ways with the medicines we will administer at the Dental Office or prescribe for you. We might need you to stop a medicine for you to accomplish a procedure safely. Blood thinners for example might need to be stopped to allow for clotting to take place after aDental Extraction. In our younger patients on birth control medications, some commonly prescribed antibiotics might interfere with your birth control coverage.

Thirdly, some of our patients might need to be on protective antibiotics before their Dental Appointments. For example patients who have had their Joints replaced recently might need what is called as prophylactic antibiotics so that their joints do not get a infection following their dental treatment.

And lastly, some medications can cause you to be more susceptible to dental issues. For example many mood stabilizing drugs can lead you to have a dry mouth. We all know that dry mouth leads to an increase in the risk of cavities or other dental problems.

So what is the best way for you to communicate your health status to your Dentist?

During your first dental visit, our team will you to fill out a medical history form along with a patient registration form. This section includes questions about lifestyle (such as smoking or involvement in high-risk sports) and family medical history. Always fill out your health history questionnaire as thoroughly you can at your first dental visit. Mention everything about your health, even if you don't think it does not relate to your Dental visit. Some commonly missed health issues are: Recent heart surgery (within the last six months) , Artificial heart valve(s) or Joints/, Asthma, Congenital heart defect, Epilepsy/seizures, History of rheumatic fever.

If you have a list of medications you are on, it is very helpful to write their names down along with the dosages on a piece of paper. That way you can rest assured that you will not forget to mention them.

If you have any common allergies such as Latex or Penicillin make sure everyone in the Dental Office knows about it. During subsequent visits make sure to update the Dentist and the other Team members on any changes in your current health status. May be you are pregnant or you quit smoking or you are on an new therapy for your Diabetes, let your Dentist know so different treatment alternatives, or even delaying treatment, may be recommended.

Lastly, a word about Recreational Drugs. Remember, your medical information is kept private and safe and you do not need to have any fear in discussing your health issues at the Dental Office. It is vital to let the Dental Team know if you have been using recreational drugs. Many of these drugs will adversely interact with the Dental Anesthetics and we want to stress that your safety is paramount and sharing your health information as completely and honestly with us possible will ensure a successful treatment outcome at our Dental Office.

If your are looking for a dentist near you/ in Fredericksburg area or you need to get a free consult or have any questions about Dry Mouth call our office at 540 370 8504 or email us at smile@pearlfamilydental.com.


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