Your medical History……………. Why it’s important to Us
You will need to tell us if you have a medical condition?
When you have your first dental check-up, we will want to know about your medical history. You will need to tell us about any medical conditions, recent operations, allergies, and about any tablets or medicines you are taking that may affect your dental treatment.
You may think that some conditions are not important enough to mention. However, quite often these conditions are just as important. The information will help your dentist and the dental team work together to make sure they treat you in the safest way possible and do not put you at any risk during treatment.
Is this information confidential?
Yes. Your dental team will keep this information confidential.
What if your taking any medicines?
You will need to tell us if you are taking, or rely on, any medicines. This should include any inhalers, a recent course of antibiotics or regular medication for a condition you have. You need to tell us if you have had a recent prescription from your doctor and whether you take recreational drugs. It is also important to remember to tell us if you have taken any medicines or tablets recently that you have bought from the pharmacist without a prescription.
Tell your dental team if you are taking an oral contraceptive pill. This is in case you need a course of antibiotics. These can cause the pill to be less effective, and you will need to use other forms of contraception as well.
All this information is needed to make sure that no dental treatment, drugs or materials will affect your health.
Will my dental team contact my doctor?
We may do. But we always ask your permission first. Sometimes, especially for difficult dental procedures or extractions, your dental team may want to contact your doctor for advice. If you have had a recent operation, or rely on medication, your dental team may ask your doctor if there are any problems which may affect your dental treatment.
How often should I visit my dentist?
Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend. If you have certain medical conditions your dental team may want to see you more often. Patients who have ‘dry mouth' caused by medication may be more likely to get tooth decay and will need checking more often.
You may also need regular hygiene appointments to keep up your good dental health.
Will I need to be treated in hospital?
In some situations, you may need to be seen by a specialist dental team at your local hospital or medical centre to make sure you get the best care. This is especially likely if you have a blood disorder, a heart complaint or severe asthma. The staff will be specially trained to deal with patients who have medical conditions, and the necessary back-up is there if it is needed. Your dentist will advise you if you require a referral.
Will I need a general anaesthetic?
Not always. General anaesthetics are not widely used nowadays, and a local anaesthetic is the safest option. Patients with heart complaints and severe asthma for example may find they are unsuitable for a general anaesthetic, and therefore would have to look at alternatives.
Are there any medical conditions that could affect my mouth?
Some medical conditions which need regular medication can mean you are more likely to get dry mouth This in turn can cause tooth decay. If you have epilepsy and rely on sodium valproate, always ask for a sugar-free product if you need the drug in syrup or liquid form. Phenytoin, another drug prescribed for epilepsy, can cause gum problems.
What other medicines cause a dry mouth?
Dry mouth can be caused by radiation treatment to the head and neck, damage to the salivary glands or by certain drugs. Antispasmodics, tricyclic antidepressants, some anti-psychotic drugs and HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy - for people living with HIV) can all cause dry mouth.
There are many artificial saliva products, sprays and lozenges that your dentist can prescribe. These may help to ease your symptoms. The reduced saliva flow can increase the chance of tooth decay. It is important to brush last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste. Reduce sugar and only have sugary foods and drinks at mealtimes.
What might happen if I have a heart complaint, a heart murmur or rheumatic fever?
Always make sure your dental team know about your medical condition. People with these conditions used to be given an antibiotic before some dental treatments, but this is no longer considered to be necessary. Your cardiologist may consider otherwise. If this is the case, they may provide you with a letter to give to your dental team.
The dental team may choose to use a different kind of local anaesthetic (one without adrenalin).
Is there a link between gum problems and heart disease?
Recent scientific research has shown a link between poor oral health and some health conditions - especially between gum disease and conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease and poor pregnancy outcomes. This highlights the importance of good dental care.
Keeping to a good oral hygiene routine at home and visiting your dental team regularly will help to prevent gum disease. This will help you avoid the risk of other problems.
How can my dentist help if I have asthma?
If you have asthma, make sure you tell us. If you have an inhaler, it is important to take it to every dental appointment. Always tell your dental team if you feel unwell or out of breath. If you have severe asthma, general anaesthetics or sedation may not be suitable for you. So, the safest option would be a local anaesthetic.
What if I am taking warfarin?
It is important to tell your dental team if you are taking warfarin, before you have any treatment - especially if you need to have a tooth out. You may need to have routine blood tests before starting treatment to make sure your blood will clot enough to stop any bleeding.
Your dental team may suggest stopping your warfarin for 2 to 3 days before you have your tooth out. However, some patients don't need to alter their medication and there should be no risk of complications afterwards. Your dental team will be able to tell you more and may contact your doctor for advice before starting the treatment.
Should I tell my dentist if I am taking anti-depressant drugs?
Yes. It is important to tell your dental team if you are taking any of these medicines. The local anaesthetic may interfere with tricylic anti-depressants, so the dental team may recommend a different anaesthetic.
A side effect of some anti-depressant drugs is ‘dry mouth'. Your mouth makes less saliva, which can mean you have more chance of tooth decay and gum disease.
So please remember next time you see us…please update your medical history …. Help us to help you