Have you wondered why your dentist was wrapping a blood pressure cuff around your arm when you were only there for a regular check-up or just before he performs a dental procedure? In the past decade or so, a lot of dentists, particularly oral surgeons, have started taking their patients’ blood pressure as an effective means of keeping you safe.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, kills approximately 60,000 people every year. High blood pressure impacts around 35% of Americans and usually gets overlooked due to the fact that it is asymptomatic almost all of the time.
For a lot of people, going to get regular dental check-ups happens more often than going to get an annual physical from their general practitioner. Dentist appointments, therefore, offer a distinct chance to check your blood pressure twice a year. Incorporating this feature into your dental appointments takes virtually no extra time and it gives both patients and dentists a quick blood pressure reading.
In addition to being an overall boon to your health, there are other reasons that your dental professional might be taking your blood pressure:
Epinephrine is an endogenous neurotransmitter and hormone. This means it is organically produced inside your body. Epinephrine plays a vital role in our fight-or-flight response by amplifying the amount of blood flow going to your muscles, the amount of blood your heart pumps through your circulatory system, blood sugar levels, and pupil dilation response.
When your dentist gives you epinephrine in the form of a numbing lotion or via a local anesthetic, it could generate a significant spike in your blood pressure. If he or she did not take note of your blood pressure beforehand and went on to administer a local anesthetic, you could be in danger of suffering a medical emergency.
Due to the lack of symptoms caused by hypertension, it is not uncommon for patients to be completely unaware that they even have high blood pressure at all.
Additionally, the consequences of dangerously high blood pressure might not be noticed while you are in the office, leaving you vulnerable to having a medical episode later that day.
A lot of people, adults and children both, have what is sometimes referred to as “white coat syndrome” or “white coat hypertension,” a medical phenomenon wherein a patient is found to have high blood pressure in a clinical environment such as a dentist’s office, doctor’s office, or hospital, but outside of that environment, their blood pressure is perfectly normal.
Not everybody is comfortable with having somebody in their personal space and a lot of people tend to fear upcoming dental procedures because they don’t know enough about what is going to be done. If your dentist takes your blood pressure after they get you in the chair, it will act as a reliable measure of how healthy you are, and call attention to any numbers that indicate hypertensive or prehypertensive concerns that need to be addressed by your family doctor.
Feelings like dread, panic, and anxiety also make your blood pressure rise, so being aware that yours falls outside of the ideal range will make your dentist aware of any health dangers a particular treatment might cause.
At McBride Dental, we want to help you and your family do everything possible to have and preserve healthy teeth and gums. By scheduling regular appointments with your California family dentist and practicing the oral care techniques we teach you, your whole family will easily maintain teeth that are healthy, strong, and effective.
The San Marcos offices of Dr. Michael McBride are staffed with reputable, professional San Diego dentists that are ready to address any concerns you may have regarding common dental procedures, as well as preventative, cosmetic, or restorative dentistry. We also provide sedation dentistry treatments as an option for our patients with severe dental anxiety.
It is our job to help you and your family establish healthy dental habits to make sure that your teeth will always be there when you need them and your smile will always look great.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a San Marcos dentist, please give us a call at (760) 471-1003 and speak with a trained member of our dental staff today.