Heart patient? Here is what you should tell your dentist

Written by Dr. Apurva Chavan

September 28, 2020

Dentists take care of all of their patients, but heart patients need extra care. Normal dental procedures are usually modified according to the needs of a heart patient. So make sure to visit your dentist with your complete medical records. 

Don’t keep your heart conditions a secret from your dentist

If you think what has my heart  got to do with your dental treatments and dental history, then here is where you are going wrong. Studies show links between heart and dental health. Studies have also shown how oral diseases can aggravate or trigger heart conditions. 

You must have heard in the news how a patient had to undergo a heart surgery just because a piece of popcorn got stuck between his gums and tooth. Hence it is always better to tell your dentist and your physician about both your dental as well as medical history to prevent any medical emergency pre during and post dental surgeries.

Complete medical history

Always carry your medical reports whenever you visit your dentist. Give your dentist your entire medical history. This includes all the medicines that you have taken in the past or are taking currently. Surgical procedures and the presence of stents or pacemakers should also be mentioned clearly.

It also included mentioning if any of your family members are suffering from heart diseases in cases of disorders running in the family. Hospital admissions for diseases like jaundice, malaria, or any accidents should also be mentioned. 

High or low blood pressure

If you have blood pressure tell your dentist what all medications you are taking for it. Even if you aren’t taking any medications currently but have a history of low or high BP it needs to be mentioned. The local aesthetic that dentists use for certain procedures has epinephrine. This increases your blood pressure and can have serious effects on BP patients.

Previous history of heart attacks or strokes

If you have a history of a heart attack or heart blocks tell that to your dentist. No elective dental procedure is to be done for 6 months after a heart attack. Even Emergency dental procedures are avoided in the first 30 days after a heart attack as chances of getting an attack again with even minor stresses are very high during that 30 day window.

Any major or minor heart surgeries

If you have undergone any surgical procedures like angioplasty or bypass surgery or have artificial valves or pacemakers tell your dentist your complete history. Your dentist may put you on prophylactic antibiotics before starting any dental procedures.

You may also need to get a written consent from your cardiologist or physician before starting any dental treatment. Your dentist will try to schedule your appointments preferably in the morning and will try to keep them as short to make you feel comfortable and stress free. 

You can always ask your dentist to reschedule your appointment in case you get an anxiety attack or are suffering from any dental phobia.

Chest pains or discomfort

Angina patients also need special care. So tell your dentist whether  your Angina is stable or unstable. If your angina is stable then dental procedures can be done with modifications. However, for unstable angina elective procedures are completely avoided and emergency procedures are to be done in a hospital set up or a dental office equipped with heart machines.

Any medications

Every medications that you take along with the dose should to told to your dentist. Certain medicines like blood thinners cause uncontrolled bleeding and become very difficult to manage while performing any dental procedures. 

If you are on medications like blood thinners (anticoagulants) then your dentist may ask you to stop taking certain medicines under the supervision of your cardiologist for a few days before your procedures. 

Certain medicines like Calcium channel blockers cause swelling of gums making if difficult to chew your food. Hence, if you’re on any such medications, it is advised to get a professional teeth cleaning done by your dentist. In a few cases a minor surgical procedure called ‘gingivectomy’ might be required to remove the excess gums(swollen gums)

Guard your heart

Heart patients are more prone to diseases like infective endocarditis. In this condition bacteria from the gums travel to your heart and worsen your heart conditions.

Regular dental visits are a must to not just catch dental problems early, but to avoid them altogether.

So do your part and take care of your heart by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly and keeping your gums healthy.

Highlights

  • Studies have shown a link between gum health and heart health. Poor brushing could also put your heart at risk. So keep your gums healthy to keep your heart healthy.
  • Do not hesitate to tell your heart or any medical history to your dentist. Your dentist will help you and take all the necessary precautions to prevent any complications during the treatment.
  • Tell your dentist about any past surgeries, any medications you are currently taking, previous history of heart attacks and strokes, if you are on blood thinners etc.
  • Let your dentist know in case you are uncomfortable or experiencing a panic attack or suffering from dental phobia as this can shoot your blood pressure and complicate the process.

What is your Oral Type?

Everybody has a different oral type.

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