If you have been to a dental office, I am sure you realized that dentists will always check your blood pressure every time. Whether it is a follow-up visit to tighten your braces or a visit for treatment of a toothache, a dentist will always check your blood pressure. So, why is blood pressure so important to dental treatment? Why do dentist check the blood pressure before administering any form of dental treatment?
Here are 5 reasons why it is necessary for dentists to check a patient’s blood pressure when treating them.
- To check for hypertension
The primary reason why every dentist checks a patient’s blood pressure is to check for presence of hypertension. Yes, this might sound a little weird but the dentist wants to know whether you are suffering from high blood pressure and advise appropriately. The blood pressure readings as we will see later in this piece are very important as they dictate the treatment mechanisms the dentist will resolve to. Besides the fact that the presence of hypertension or lack thereof will dictate the type of dental treatment the dentist opts for, the check for blood pressure is meant to raise the patients’ awareness about the risks associated with high blood pressure. You most probably won’t notice it but you dentist will be giving you a few random tips on blood pressure while he/she is taking the readings. Considering that some people visit their dentists more times in a year that they see their general physicians, it is only noble that the dentist checks the blood pressure and offer professional advice on behalf of the physician.
- Blood pressure is required to help choose the most appropriate anesthetic for dental injections
Before any form of dental surgery, it is important to find out whether the patient is suffering from hypertension in order to know the appropriate anesthetic to administer. Patients with high blood pressure require special attention and are treated as medical emergency as far as administering an injection is concerned. Without the blood pressure readings, it would be difficult for dentists to identify the patients with hypertension and cases of such patients getting wrong anaesthetic injections would be rampant. Blood pressure with a reading more than 200mmHg systolic should not be administered with dosages of anesthetic such as epinephrine. There have been cases of patients who developed complications because they were given an anesthetic which didn’t react all too well with their hypertension.
- The earlier the problem is discovered, the better
The other reason why blood pressure measurements are always taken when one visits a dentist is to try and discover the problem before it turns chronic. This is a universal campaign involving all the medical practitioners and dentists are on the forefront of the movement because they receive quite a number of patients in a year. Since most patients are often unaware of their states, the dentists use the chance to provide them with a report of their blood pressure. The earlier blood pressure problems are discovered, the better. So besides the fact that the readings are beneficial to them for the sake of treatment, dentists care about you as well and will give you the readings just to keep you up to date with your medical state.
- Diabetes is a glaring problem
Blood pressure is often indicative of worse underlying problems. More often than not, hypertension is a sign of diabetes especially the type II diabetes mellitus. This is why dentists are always keen to check the blood pressure levels of patients to help them detect this glaring problem before it becomes chronic. The moment a dentist detects that your blood pressure levels are higher than they should be, he/she will refer you to your physician for more examination and diagnosis to ascertain whether you truly are suffering from diabetes or any other disease.
- Stress reduction protocols
Sometimes, patients are scared of dental visits and are therefore more than shaken when they come to see their dentists. Some may be ashamed to tell the dentists themselves and only their blood pressure can give them away. Dentists therefore check the blood pressure to see if there is any anxiety. In case there is, then the dentist will initiate stress reduction protocols where he/she will try to calm the patient down and help them relax. This is done through a series of techniques such as controlled breathing, friendly talks, listening to soft music to administering certain medication.
The next time a dentist asks you to stretch out your arm, you should be more than thankful because he/she is mindful of your health and is doing all that for your own sake. The report he/she gives regarding your blood pressure should be taken seriously. If he/she asks you to go and see your physician, then you need to oblige as this may mean the difference between you developing complications and receiving early treatment.