The Importance of Disclosing Your Medical History to Your Dentist

By Aaron Strickland, D.D.S. on December 15, 2016

The Importance of Disclosing Your Medical History to Your DentistWe've all been there - sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's or dentist's office, filling out a heaping stack of paperwork before an appointment. Name, address, insurance information, among a plethora of other things. But perhaps the bulk of this paperwork is disclosure of our medical history. Sure, we can see the value of disclosing our medical history to our physician or surgeon. But a dentist? Why would a dentist need to know about any current medications we're taking? Past surgeries? Family medical history? What does this have to do with our teeth? Believe it or not - disclosing medical history to your dentist can be crucial to ensuring that he or she is able to provide you with the highest quality customized care. By having a full grasp on your exact situation, your dentist is able to help you make the best and most informed decisions about your oral health and dental procedures. Here are some things to keep in mind about disclosing your medical history the next time you visit your dentist (or any medical professional).

Disclose any current medications.

All body systems are connected to one another. That medication you're taking for some other (seemingly unrelated) body part could effect your dental implant, extraction, or even routine cleaning. Always be sure to disclose any medications (including prescription, over-the-counter, and vitamins) to your dentist. For example, an individual who is taking prescription blood thinners would likely be referred to an oral surgeon for certain oral care which could cause bleeding. If your dentist knows about all of your medications, he or she will be able to make the best and most customized care plan for your oral health.

Disclose any past or current medical conditions

Always be sure to disclose all medical conditions to your dentist, even ones that seem unrelated to your oral health. For example, an individual who has diabetes is more prone to gum problems like periodontal disease. If the dentist knows this patient's history of diabetes, he or she will be able to take that into account when planning for the patient's oral care, given the implications it could have on the gums.

Disclose if you are pregnant or nursing.

Many medical history forms ask if the patient is pregnant or nursing, but even if the form doesn't ask, be sure to disclose this to your dentist. If your dentist doesn't know this about you, he/she won't be able to make the best decisions for both you and your unborn baby. For example, X-rays can be harmful to a fetus, and your dentist would opt to delay an X-ray until after the baby is born. Likewise, if a prescription medication should be necessary after your visit, your dentist can advise you on its safety for your nursing baby, to keep both of you out of harm's way.

Use common sense.

Remember that all systems of the body are connected and can all affect one another. Above all, always use common sense during a dentist visit. Medications, medical conditions, surgeries, allergies - always disclose all parts of your medical history to your dentist. If you're not sure about whether your dentist needs to know something about your medical history, chances are good that you should disclose it anyway. The more your dentist knows about your personal health and wellness, the more he or she is able to make customized recommendations about your oral care.

Looking for customized dental care in Columbus, Indiana?

White River Dental provides the highest quality customized dental care in Columbus, Indiana. You're sure to receive quality care from professionals who value great service and your personal health and wellness. Call White River Dental Columbus, Indiana today to schedule your next visit!

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