Cannabis and Your Oral Health

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Andra Mahoney, RDH BSDH

Cannabis and Your Oral Health

Cannabis is illegal on the federal level.  However, as of March 2018, 30 states have legalized the use of either medical or recreational marijuana.  As this becomes more prevalent, we all need to become aware of the effects cannabis use has on our mouths.

Why people use Cannabis

Manage:
-Pain
-Anxiety
-Depression
-Migraines
-Sleep Problems

Reduce pain from:
-Multiple Sclerosis
-Spinal Cord Injuries
-Fibromyalgia
-Rheumatoid Arthritis

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Decrease seizures in Drug-resistant Epilepsy

Reduce Muscle Spasticity

Reduce Nausea and Vomiting related to Chemotherapy and AIDS treatments

 

Types of Marijuana

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): the primary psychoactive compound of the plant.

CBD (cannabidiol): nonpsychoactive, does not produce the typical “high”.

Weed: leaves and buds of the female plant.

Hash: resin made from the plants.  Resin can be dried into blocks.

Hash Oil: most potent form, applied to different items.

 

Ways to Administer

Inhalation: smoked in cigarettes (joints), pipes (bongs), hollowed out cigars (blunts), hookah pipes.  Alternatives to smoking include vaping, inhaling a fine mist caused by heating the marijuana instead of burning it.  Dabbing is when hash oil is made into a wax and heated to a vapor in a glass pipe.

Oral: edibles (food or beverages), capsules, sublingual (under your tongue), tinctures, or oromucosal sprays (mouth sprays).

Topical: creams, and oils.

Alternatives: suppositories.

 

Adverse Reactions

Physical Effects:
-Addiction is significantly greater with adolescent onset use as opposed to adult onset use.
-Myocardial Infarction (MI)
-Ischemic Stroke
-Emboli
-Acute Kidney Injury
-Seizures
-Respiratory, including lung cancer
-Nervous system disorder
-Dry Mouth
-Fatigue
-Decrease development of brain’s white matter

Psychological Effects:
-Paranoia and anxiety are often found in the use of THC.
-Mania
-Self Harm and suicidal behaviors
-Hallucination
-Confusion, impaired functioning
-Psychosis
-Depression
-Anxiety

 

Effects on your Mouth

The inhalation category referenced above has the most negative effect on your mouth.  Especially if used chronically.

-Increase in cavities/tooth lose due to poor hygiene
-Increase in cavities/tooth lose due to increase in sugary, carbohydrated foods
-Inflammation in gums resulting in higher risk for periodontitis (gum disease)
-Inflammation in gums resulting in leukoplakic (white) patches
-Xerostomia (dry mouth)
-Cannabis Stomatitis (changes in the lining of the mouth)
-Oral Cancer
-Negative interactions between local anesthetic and nitrous oxide

 

Conclusion

There are many reason why people use marijuana.  If you do, make sure you are informed on the risks and weigh those to the benefits you find in using cannabis.  If you smoke marijuana, look into alternative methods such as edibles or topical applications.  Visit your dental professionals regularly so that we can help keep you healthy!  Regular dental hygiene appointments to keep your teeth/gums healthy, oral cancer screenings, and any teeth restorations as needed.   But most importantly, make sure you find a place that you feel comfortable openly, safely discussing your cannabis use so that we, as oral health professionals, can provide you with the safest care possible.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/ddhnoright.aspx?id=26034&term=cannabis

https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/cannabis

http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html

Yao, Suellan Go, DMD, and James Burke Fine, DMD. “Consumption of Cannabis and Effects of Periodontal Health.” CDA Journal Volume 45. Issue 9 (2017): 475-481. Print.

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Coping With a Medical Emergency

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Maria Ambra, RDH

Coping With a Medical Emergency

“Why are you asking me so many personal questions about my health? Are you my medical physician?”

“What does my blood pressure or my diabetes have to do with my cleaning?”

Several times during the day, as Dental Hygienists, we experience scenarios where patients ask these types of questions. Some patients believe that there is no correlation between the dental visit and their medical conditions.

Medical emergencies can occur when we least expect them; before, during or after dental procedures, especially when there is an underlying medical condition. Reviewing a complete medical history at each dental visit is the best way to be prepared or possibly prevent an emergency. It’s always prudent for us to ask you questions, or your physicians if you unsure why you take certain medications, to see if a medical conditions could impact dental treatment.

As dental hygienists, it is critical to evaluate the your current physical state, while a dental hygiene procedure is in progress. Either a simple prophylaxis or a Scale Root Planning, monitoring the your behavior during the dental visit is very important.

 

Some of the most common medical emergencies seen in dental offices are:

  • LOCAL ANESTHESTIC REACTION:

Local anesthetic reaction occurs when blood levels of anesthetic are too high or if the patient is allergic to components of the anesthetic (Sulfites). It is important for us to know what medications you are allergic to.

  • SYNCOPE OR FAINTING:

Syncope is the result from the loss of blood flow to the brain and can affect anyone of any age at any time.

  • BLOOD GLUCOSE DISORDER:

Blood glucose disorders can occur in diabetic patients that can experience either Hyperglycemia or Hypoglycemia. It is important for us to ask the you your current HbA1C level.

  • HYPERVENTILATION:

Hyperventilation is abnormal, rapid breathing that decreases carbon dioxide levels in the blood usually caused by anxiety.  Keeping open communication with us on your anxiety levels can help us avoid this.  There are several things you can talk to the Dentist about to help reduce your anxiety.

  • ASTHMA:

Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath and wheezing. It is important for us to know if you have asthma, and important for you to bring your inhaler to your appointments.

  • BLOOD PRESSURE:

Blood Pressure monitoring is also very important before any dental procedure. Some people are most often not aware of any blood pressure conditions they might have.  It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.  If your medical physician tells you that you have high or low blood pressure, it is important for us to you so that it may not hinder any dental treatment.  It is also important and you take your medication as prescribed, especially before any dental procedures. We take your blood pressure before giving your anesthetic to reduce your risk of a medical emergency.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

American Academy of Allergy www.aaaai.org

The Anaphylaxis Campaign www.anaphylaxis.org

American College of Physician-American Society of Internal Medicine. www.acponline.org.

http://www.rdhmag.com