Do you cringe at the sight of your dentist’s health history form or glance over it distractedly when you’re asked to update it? It may not seem like it, but your medical and overall health is a factor in your dental health and this is the reason for a health history.
Changes in your health, medications and lifestyle may affect your dental treatment or alert your dentist tow watch for certain dental conditions. Your safety is also a concern: your dentist would not want to prescribe something to which you are allergic or that will interact with your other medications. (I know it sounds silly to read that, but I cannot tell you how many times a patient has marked “no” to do you have any allergies and then when given a prescription for penicillin for a dental infection tells me “I can’t take that, I’m allergic.”)
Here are some examples of ways we use the information on your health history:
- Many medications cause dry mouth. Dry mouth can cause a higher rate of cavities because your saliva is not washing away food and bacteria from your teeth. Some medications cause other side effects in your mouth such as enlarged gums or discolored gums, especially if they are taken for a long time. Medications for osteoporosis may cause issues if you need dental surgery such as a tooth removed.
- Diabetics have a higher chance of getting gum disease and the gum disease gets worse faster once it develops. Healing can also be slower for diabetic patients—something you may want to take into account if you need dental surgery or plan to have dentures or a partial made after tooth removed.
I hope that these examples help you to see why your dentist takes and updates your health history and medication lists. If you have questions about the health history questions your dentist uses, please ask.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who is accepting new patients at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd in Lorain, OH. Call 440-960-1940 to reserve your time! Find out more about Dr. Robb at www.drjrobb.com or www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb