Keeping your best interests at heart
Last year during American Heart Month, we highlighted the connection between periodontal disease and overall health. One of the most often discussed is the effect on heart disease. What is less frequently highlighted is the relationship between various cardiovascular conditions and dental treatment.
So this year, we at Amsterdam Dental Group want to focus on the care and precautions important for patients suffering from the many types of heart disease. This can include reviewing medications, measuring blood pressure and even delaying treatment. But nothing is more important than open communication to provide the best possible care.
Here are some common conditions and related dental treatment.
- Heart Attack
After a heart attack, dental treatment should be delayed at least six months. Since cases, conditions and medications differ, most dentists will want to consult your physician as it may impact the method of treatment as in the case of blood thinners and cautions related to dental surgery or extractions. Another is to ensure oxygen and nitroglycerin is on hand during appointments.
- High Blood Pressure
There are a number of possible oral side effects to high blood pressure medications – dry mouth, altered taste, gum overgrowth and faintness. Although most will safely interact with anti-anxiety drugs and local anesthesia, it is important for your dentist to be made aware of any prescriptions. For those suffering with this condition, a baseline blood pressure should be taken at the start of each visit and monitored throughout the procedure.
Dental treatment will vary for stable and unstable angina sufferers. Stable angina generally does not require special circumstances except having oxygen and nitroglycerin on hand. For those with unstable angina, only emergency dental care should be undertaken during which your heart should be monitored continuously.
There are various long-term effects caused by a stroke and some can impact oral health care. To help, special toothbrushes and floss holders are available along with fluoride gel and saliva substitutes. Denture wearers may require adjustments. Although routine dental care is safe, it is recommended to bring a copy of recent bloodwork and have your dental and medical professionals consult prior to in depth dental procedures.
- Congestive Heart Failure
In general, there are usually no special guidelines for those with congestive heart failure (CHF), yet your dentist may choose different alternatives based upon prescribed medications. For those with more severe CHF, dental chair position should be modulated to avoid possible fluid build-up in your lungs. Patients should refrain from sitting up quickly, which can cause light-headedness. In some cases, dental treatment may be best suited in a hospital setting.
- Pacemaker Wearers
Patients with a pacemaker should avoid non-emergency dental care for several weeks after implantation. Once cleared, it is important to review any possible interactions between your dentist’s electromagnetic devices and pacemakers. The dental staff can check this in advance with a call to the manufacturer and your dentist can plan accordingly.
In the end, the interrelationship between heart health and oral health cannot be untangled. They often go hand in hand. The best advice is to open the lines of communication between your dentist and physician – both who will have your best interests and care at heart.
For more information, please contact any member of the Amsterdam Dental staff or your dental professional.