I’ve noticed that my hygienist takes my blood pressure every time I come to the dentist. What’s that have to do with my mouth?
Actually, this is a very important step in the periodic dental examination process. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is often referred to “the silent killer” in medical circles. This is because many people who have high blood pressure don’t feel any different when they did when they were healthy. Since more common than not people see their dentists much more frequently than they do their family doctors, dentists can help a great deal with the diagnosis of this potentially deadly condition by providing a documented history of vital signs for the MD.
Vital signs, such as blood pressure and pulse, are also very important for us during routine dental care. Because it is very routine to “get numb” when we go to the dentist for a filling, we don’t often stop to think that the dentist is introducing medication into our systems, almost as if he were giving us an IV in the arm. Having a documented history of vital signs can be critical in the unlikely event of an emergency.
In our dental practice in Dover, Ohio, many patients have returned thanking us for diligently taking their blood pressures each time they come in. One couple came in once and thanked us tearfully for referring them to their family doctor because of their high blood pressure. They reported that they felt so much better having been treated for hypertension and getting their blood pressure under control that they felt “like living again.” Apparently, they had been otherwise healthy and had not seen a physician in many years and both were feeling very run-down. It’s wonderful to help someone feel well again!