High blood pressure, also called HBP or hypertension, can affect your ability to receive oral healthcare. Performing dental treatments on patients with hypertension can be detrimental! If your blood pressure is too high, many dentists won’t schedule procedures until you receive a health assessment from your medical doctor.
What is high blood pressure?
The two forces measured for your blood pressure reading are the blood pumping out of your heart and into your arteries (systolic), and the heart resting between beats (diastolic). Normal blood pressure readings for a healthy individuals who are 20 years and older should be below 120 for systolic and below 80 for diastolic. If blood pressure readings are consistently higher than 120/80 then you’re probably suffering from hypertension.
According to Heart.org, the website of the American Heart Association, “Untreated high blood pressure damages and scars your arteries.” High blood pressure increases risks of blood clots, organ damage, heart attacks, and strokes. High blood pressure also results increased plaque build-up and weakening blood vessels.
How does high blood pressure affect my dental health?
In a white paper released by the American Diagnostic Corporation, it states: “…elevations of blood pressure can increase a patient’s risk of experiencing a stroke or myocardial infarctions in the dental chair.” Patients with hypertension can also be in danger from local anesthetics that use vasoconstrictors, such as epinephrine, which increase blood pressure and heart arrhythmia.
High blood pressure medications can also affect your dental wellbeing. Some prescriptions cause dry mouth and may also alter your sense of taste. Meds with calcium blockers can also create gum overgrowth, which can affect a patient’s ability to chew and may require periodontal surgery to correct.
Will my dentist still treat me if I have high blood pressure?
Most dentists will not treat patients who have high blood pressure, especially if your numbers are in the Stage 1 or higher range for hypertension. (View the chart at the American Heart Association’s website.) If you’re being treated for high blood pressure, it’s important for you to discuss your condition and your medications with your dentist before beginning any treatments. Most patients being treated for high blood pressure can still have dental procedures, take anti-anxiety medications (often used for oral conscious sedation), and safely receive local anesthetics.