Medical issues? Don't leave your dentist in the dark

Delta Dental reminds patients on the eve of World Heart Day to include their dentists in conversations about medical concerns before dental procedures

OAK BROOK, Illinois - Tomorrow is World Heart Day, and Delta Dental is reminding people with heart issues and other medical concerns that a simple conversation with their dentist can go a long way.

A few quick tips:

  • Most dentists already discuss their patient’s health history at regular office visits and before performing any dental work, but patients should feel comfortable starting a conversation with their dentists about any new medical concerns, questions or medications each time they hit the dentist chair.
  • Individuals seeing a dentist for the first time will most likely be asked for their complete medical and dental history. In case an issue is not addressed, patients should make sure their new dentist is aware of any health conditions, allergies, and medications they are taking, including any over-the-counter or recreational drugs, vitamins or other dietary supplements.

Delta Dental suggests patients with the following heart conditions remind their dentist at each visit:

  • History of heart attack, stroke, congenital heart defects or recent heart surgery: Patients with any of these issues should talk to their cardiologist and dentist before treatment and tell their dentist what medications they are taking, particularly if they are taking any blood-thinning drugs.
  • High blood pressure: If a dental procedure requires the use of anesthesia, patients should ask their dentist if the anesthesia contains epinephrine, which in rare cases may result in cardiovascular changes.
  • Angina (chest pain): Patients with new or unpredictable chest pain should wait on elective dental procedures until their condition has been evaluated by their physician and is under control.

“In addition to the conditions listed above, dentists and patients should make discussing medical conditions and medications a part of every visit,” said Dr. Bill Kohn, Vice President of Dental Science and Policy for Delta Dental Plans Association. “In many cases, if a dentist is aware of a patient’s history, simple steps can be taken to prevent potential issues from arising.