Ruth Jones, RDH
Blood Pressure at the Dental Office
Blood pressure screenings in the dental setting are becoming more common and sometimes patients wonder why it’s being done and if it’s necessary. Blood pressure which “measures the force on the arterial walls as the heart pumps blood throughout the body” is an indication of a person’s health. High blood pressure referred to as hypertension has been called the “Silent Killer” because of its high-risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which can be fatal. People may be walking around with it and be unaware of the risk they’re living with. Taking blood pressure at the dental office only takes about a minute and has great benefits. It can alert the dental professional and subsequently the patient of elevated or high blood pressure. This provides the dental professional with valuable information of how to treat the patient safely. This information also allows the patient to initiate a conversation with their primary physician about ways to control their hypertension. Often, it’s the patients that are unaware of their hypertension that have the greatest risk. In some cases, taking blood pressure before dental treatment can prevent a medical emergency.
In an effort to encourage people to use diet and exercise to control elevated blood pressure at early stages, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association with other professional organizations lowered the threshold for hypertension and developed new guidelines. The table below is the updated guidelines.
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