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Why Your Dentist Needs To Know Your Medical History

Many people still get surprised when they learn just how much oral health contributes to overall wellbeing. Various medications and medical conditions can have a huge effect on the health of your gums, teeth, and mouth. The body systems are connected and the situation of one is integral to all. In addition, just as how infection can spread from one part to the rest of the body, so too can signs of disease appear in the oral cavity first.

When dentists clean your teeth, they are also examining your mouth. The look at every structure to look for abnormalities and determine your oral health. Because some systemic conditions of the body and your dental health are closely linked, there can be a considerable impact on the health of your mouth. Similarly, dentistry contributes to your body’s general health.

Doctor Vs. Dentist

Unfortunately, many people still view oral health separately from the body, and likewise, dentistry an inferior scope of practice than medicine. While it’s true that the focus of dentistry is more concentrated on the neck and head, it goes without saying that these parts are extremely important to the body.

Dr. Shervin Rahimi

There’s a popular saying that dental doctors know a lot about a little while general medical physicians know a little about a lot. Certainly, as a practitioner progresses in their careers, taking on additional areas of practice and study, the breadth and depth of their skills, knowledge, and experience increase. Each specialist offers to the patient different levels of education, scope of practice, and skill sets.

You would be laughed at if you think a cardiologist should perform oral surgery or a dentist to handle the skeleton as a chiropractor does. IN the same way, although a root canal specialist or endodontist is educated as a dentist before advancing their studies in a more specific field of dentistry – with its own unique set of procedures – one would not expect them to continue to perform the treatments general dental practitioners provide.

Forget the “doctor versus dentist” mindset. Oral care experts work as a team of providers, in partnership with a patient, to deliver healthcare. Just as dentists may refer a patient to a pain clinic or a chiropractor for a jaw assessment, a primary care doctor may ask a dentist to analyze an area of concern in the mouth. Dentists may also consult with one another to coordinate or modify medication, treatment, or other therapies that best suit your particular case.

Your Mouths Says Something More About Your Health

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, but the mouth can provide important information on what’s going on elsewhere in the body. Ulcers, bleeding gums, infections, sore mouth tissues, redness, puffiness, tooth decay, and dry mouth can all be symptoms of systemic conditions that you may or may not be aware of. Furthermore, certain medications can alter the environment in your mouth.

It is quite common for dentists to detect diseases first. In fact, dental care providers often spot oral cancer at its early stages, initiating treatment quickly and preventing cancer growth. It’s common knowledge that early diagnoses are the key to the successful treatment of most diseases. Dentists literally save lives with early detection.

Anything out of the ordinary that has been noted during the dental exam, and the dentist often advises the patient to see their doctor. This is to make sure that there are no underlying conditions that need immediate treatment.

Solving The Bigger Puzzle

Since dental care is just part of the bigger picture, certain diseases that cause oral health issues must be addressed first. Sometimes, a disease in another part of the body creates dental issues that are hard to fix without getting to the root of the problem. Any effort the dentists do to manage the dental issue might be for naught if your body is not in a good condition.

Dentists recommend treatment based on various factors, not the least of which is your current health status. Some procedures may have to be modified or delayed for conditions like pregnancy, allergies, high blood pressure, joint replacements, and artificial heart valves.

They consider your general health condition before going to the specifics of your dental health. In doing so, they are able to identify and improve your treatment.

Other Important Considerations

Questions – If, for instance, your dentist sees a surprising rise of tooth decay problems in your mouth, he or she will begin to ask about any change in medications, diet, or lifestyle that can affect your mouth’s ability to self-repair. Their usual line of questioning is designed to determine the reason for the nature and extent of your oral problem. This is crucial in deciding which treatment to administer.

Medication List – Keeping a copy of your medications will make it easier to share information with other health providers when the situation calls for it.

Interactions – Since dental care specialists also prescribe medication, they want to make sure it won’t interact with other medicines you are currently taking. This is to ensure you do not experience any adverse reactions or hinder the effectiveness of other drugs. If you have had a prosthetic joint replacement, you will be advised to take an antibiotic before any dental procedure. It is to protect the surgery site from infection.

Updates – An updated medical profile for each patient ensures a clear and easy communication for each visit. Since you are not the only visiting patient at the clinic, having an archive of your health status will make it easier for them to remember your medications and other ongoing therapies.

Emergencies – In the event of an emergency, having knowledge of what medications you are currently taking is essential to determining the best possible treatment.  

Dentists are a vital member of your healthcare team aiming to give you and your family practical dental advice and safe treatment. Taking care of your oral health is an investment to your overall wellbeing. Never hesitate to call your trusted Chandler dental office for your oral healthcare concerns and questions.