If you have not been to the dentist in a while, you may be surprised when your dentist or hygienist wants to take your blood pressure. After all, they never used to do that, and you may feel somewhat insulted by this action. Rest assured, they are not doing it because of your age or because of your weight (although those are two factors that can certainly complicate one's blood pressure all the same). Here are some reasons why this new addition to dental care is necessary, and why you should not be quite so concerned about it.
Novocaine Elevates Blood Pressure
Although this fact has long been recognized in dentistry, it was not an issue until recently. Some patients who already had high blood pressure but were not taking medication for it received Novocaine and subsequently experienced medical emergencies while in the dental chair. As such, it became apparent to the American Dental Association that all patients need to be screened for high blood pressure prior to starting any restorative treatments. Even children are checked for high blood pressure.
Most Patients with High Blood Pressure Are Unaware of It
High blood pressure is a silent but deadly killer of many adults and even some children. There are really no warning signs, and the most healthy of individuals can have it. If a dentist based his or her treatment plans on a person's appearance alone, there is a high probability that many thin and seemingly healthy people would end up with medical emergencies as the Novocaine would push their already high and undetected blood pressure through the roof.
Malpractice Lawsuits Can Ensue
Despite the fact that most of the patients who have encountered a medical emergency after being administered Novocaine were undiagnosed high blood pressure patients, they still pursued lawsuits against their dentists for malpractice. To prevent these kinds of lawsuits from happening, as well as to increase the overal level and quality of patient care, it is now mandatory for all dentists to take every patient's blood pressure. It protects both patient and dentist and does not take more than a few seconds to complete.
What You Can Expect If Your Own Blood Pressure Is High
If your dentist takes your blood pressure and finds it to be a little too high, he or she will explain to you why your procedures cannot be performed today. Then he/she will send you home or back to work. It is ultimately up to you to decrease your blood pressure so that your teeth can be treated as planned. Talk to your dentist, like Persona Dental, for more help.