Today, most of us are aware of the important link between our oral health and our overall health. Cardiovascular health is one area of special consideration. Not only can the signs in the mouth warn us of undetected diseases or conditions, studies show that you are at a greater risk of heart disease if your gums are unhealthy.
Updating Your Medical History
You may have completed a thorough medical history form at your first visit with us at Your Smile Dental Care, but the staff of Dr. Sam & Associates take great care to update and explore your medical health regularly. When we ask you to keep us updated on any changes in your health or medications, we are not only looking for important connections between your oral and whole health, but we want to be able to identify circumstances that may have the potential to interfere with your dental care or health. Additionally, some medical conditions or circumstance may require us to modify our approach when we care for a patient who is medically or dentally compromised.
Electronic devices such as pacemakers and implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) can be life savers when it comes to regulating or shocking your heart beat, but they can complicate a simple cleaning appointment with your dental hygienist.
Many hygienists routinely use ultrasonic dental cleaners and scalers to gently loosen tartar and stains on tooth surfaces using high-frequency sound waves. Pacemakers and ICDs are sensitive to the strong electromagnetic signals that these waves can generate. Interference can include:
- Disruption with the function of a pacemaker
- False detection of an irregular heartbeat causing an ICD to send a shock to the heart needlessly.
In recent years there have been advances in the technology and the function of both ultrasonic scalers and implanted cardiac devices. Some newer model ultrasonic devices are designed with technology that is safe for use on patients with pacemakers and most newer pacemakers and ICDs are designed with safeguards that reduce electromagnetic interference while still ensuring proper functioning of the device.
It is still important, nonetheless, to tell your dental team if you live with a cardiac device or are medically compromised with another disease, condition or sensitivity. As your partner in health, it is our policy to stay up to date with all aspect of your dental and medical health. Doing so will help us determine which instruments and which treatments are best suited for your “unique to you” circumstance.
Do you carry a card with your most critical health information? It is helpful to our staff if you carry a device identification card if you depend on a cardiac device for your heart health. This card should, ideally, contain the following critical information concerning your device:
- The date of implantation
- Model number of device
- Manufacturer of device
- Your physicians name
If your doctor did not provide you with one, you can make your own card.
Professional dental care is an investment in the health of your mouth and your overall wellbeing. Certain health conditions, however, may affect how you receive that care, so it is important that your dentist know your full health history. If you have any history of pacemakers, antibiotics, blood thinners, heart attacks, or stroke, tell your dentist before having any treatment.
Yours in Better Dental Health,
Dr. Sam Axelrod & Associates
Your Smile Dental Care
Oshawa (905) 576-4537
Toronto (416) 783-3533