Why Does My Dentist Ask So Many Questions about the Medicine I Take?

That’s a great question!  Both medicine and dentistry have changed drastically over the past few decades.

An old anecdote said that dentists built their offices on the second floor of buildings for a reason.  If the patient was healthy enough to climb the stairs to get to the dentist, he was healthy enough to have a tooth pulled.

Things are not quite so simple today.  First of all, we have elevators.  Secondly, and more importantly, we have more medications than ever, and these medications do have an impact on dentistry.  This blog will explain some of the reasons your complete medical history is so important to your dentist.

Your medications affect your mouth.

All medications have side effects, even over-the-counter ones.  It is important for your dentist to know what medications you take on a regular basis to help you care for your mouth.

Many meds cause dry mouth as a side effect.  A dry mouth is more than just an annoyance.  It can lead to serious dental problems, like cavities and gum disease.  A dry mouth also makes you more likely to have mouth sores and ulcers.

Other medications can affect things like bone density and wound healing, which can be very detrimental to a patient having oral surgery.  Some medications make the gums overgrow like crazy.  There are even some that affect your sense of taste.

If we do not know your medications, we may not be give you an accurate reason as to why you are experiencing certain mouth problems.  When we know what you are taking, we can take better care of your mouth.

Your medications affect our medications.

Most people do not think of anesthetic (“novocaine”) as a medication, but because of drug interactions, we must!

We inject medication every single day.  The ingredients in our local anesthetic injections can interact and interfere with medications you are taking.  In order to eliminate any complications that could arise, we have to know exactly what you are taking.

We also prescribe medications for dental infections, pain management, and TMJ problems.  The prescriptions we write could change the way your meds work.  For instance, certain antibiotics change the way birth control pills work.  And other medications affect the way antibiotics work.

Because of the countless types of prescription medications available today, it is impossible for us to guess what you are taking based on a list of medical concerns.  We need to know the name of the drug, the dosage, and the schedule you take it, so that we can ensure there will be no bad interactions with the medications we give you.

Your mouth may show whether your medications are working.

Did you know that certain health problems leave clues in your mouth?

Often, the dentist sees something in a dental evaluation that leads to questions about your overall health.  Dental hygienists can see signs of problems with hormones or blood sugar in your gums.

Many diseases have signs or symptoms that show up in the mouth.  If you are already taking medications for these diseases, and the oral symptoms are still present, that tells us that the medications may not be working as well as they should.

In addition to signs we see inside your mouth, we also may notice problems when taking your pulse and blood pressure.  If you are currently taking medication for high blood pressure, it is important to know whether or not that medicine is doing its job.

Your medications help us understand your overall health.

Contrary to what the division between medicine and dentistry implies, the mouth is not separate from the rest of the body!

The mouth is an important part of the body, and oral problems play an important role in your overall health.

When we perform treatment on various areas of your mouth, it can affect the rest of your body.  It is essential for us to know the exact state of your health so that we can plan for certain types of treatment.  We cannot discern the state of your health without knowing what meds you take.

This is of utmost importance when we are planning dental surgery, like a tooth extraction or dental implant.  The healing process is the most important factor in the long-term success of the dental treatment.  Both medical problems and the medications you take affect that healing process.

More Questions on What Your Medications Have to Do with Dental Treatment?

Call 940-382-1750 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning.  He will closely study and discuss with you the details of your medical history to make sure that we provide you with the right dental care in the safest, most predictable way.

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