Blood Pressure at the Dental Office
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The Purpose of Measuring Blood Pressure in a Dental Office
My clinical philosophy is that I treat you as a whole living, breathing self and NOT just the tooth that is hurting you. Several studies have concluded that most patients see a dentist more frequently than a primary physician. As such I want to take a more comprehensive role in your health.
Dental professionals, like myself, and hygienists play an important role in screening for diseases and other issues that can affect not only your dental health but your overall health as well. For example, we may screen for hypertension which is also known as high blood pressure.
What exactly is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. It is measured in millimeters of mercury, mmHg, as the systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure measures the peak pressure in the arteries that occurs when the heart contracts and pumps blood out. The diastolic pressure measures the lowest pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest in between heart beats. Normal or optimal blood pressure measurements are considered to be at or less than 120/80 mmHg.
Studies from the American Heart Association show that hypertension is the most common primary diagnosis in the United States. As stated by the American Diagnostic Corporation, hypertension is a major risk factor associated with many cardiovascular diseases and plays a significant role in the progression of congestive heart failure, stroke, heart attacks, kidney failure, and premature death. Factors that contribute to the prevalence of hypertension are smoking, stress, drugs, alcohol, nutrition, diabetes, obesity, and limited physical activity.
The American Dental Association recommends that dental offices should check the blood pressure of all new patients who come to the office and check it once a year for existing patients. This is because dental patients usually consider themselves to be healthy during dental visits and believe that there is nothing wrong with them health wise, since most people tend to only visit a doctor when they are ill.
It is also important to check the blood pressure of patients with hypertension before any treatment is done as well as during complex procedures because elevations of blood pressure can increase a patient’s risk of experiencing a stroke or heart attack in the dental chair. Moreover, local anesthetics that contain epinephrine can increase blood pressure which is dangerous to patients with hypertension.
If you know that you have high blood pressure and are taking medication for it, please let us know beforehand.
The dental practice of Dr. Badwalz,is located at 3178 Collins Drive in Merced. He has been active in the Merced community since 2009. Make sure to visit Pearl Family Dentistry at DrBadwalz.com or you can also find us on Facebook if you’d like to join in on the conversation there. Call us today 209-383-6133 to make an appointment for your six-month check-up or to finish your treatment.