Dentists must know what blood pressure meds patients take to avoid unnecessary risks.

For many people who don’t know they have hypertension, a visit to a dentist may be a surprising way to find out. Most dentists ask patients about their health and several measure their blood pressure.

If people know they have the condition, it is imperative that they share the information with their dentist. According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, one reason is that the local anesthetic used in many dental treatments to block pain and control bleeding, often contains the drug epinephrine. Epinephrine may cause a rapid rise in heart rate and if a person already has hypertension, they can be at risk for a heart attack.

Dentists also need to know if patients are taking both prescription medications and those available over-the-counter. Blood thinners, such as Coumadin (warfarin sodium) can cause bleeding, which can be serious and sometimes lead to death in people with high blood pressure. Even some over-the-counter pain relievers can lead to excessive bleeding during and after a dental procedure. Just because a medication is available on the shelf of a local grocery or discount store does not make it any safer than a drug that has been prescribed by a doctor.

Dentist should follow the American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines to decide whether a patient is hypertensive or not, advices Dr. Terry Bruckenheimer, Florida Dental Association president. According to the guidelines, blood pressure should be below 120/80. According to Bruckenheimer, patients with slightly elevated blood pressure or prehypertension can safely have dental procedures and anesthesia.

If blood pressure is high, but the case is urgent, there are alternative anesthetics. Also, blood pressure may be elevated due to an oral infection in which case treatment is necessary. For patients with heart conditions, a dental procedure may have to be done in a hospital or office that has cardiac monitoring equipment. In fact, all Florida dentists must have an automated external defibrillator, or AED, to revive patients if they go into cardiac arrest.

Dentists are not just people interested in gums and teeth. They are health-care providers who can and should help patients with their overall well-being.

Needing dental work is very common and is just one more reason why hypertensives should always control their condition and not just wait for their next health checkup. RESPeRATE enables them to easily take control of their condition RESPeRATE is the first non-invasive, natural medical device approved by the FDA and clinically proven to lower blood pressure and reduce stress.

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