Amy Smith, RDH
Why would a Dental Hygienist need to know your blood pressure?
At that first lengthy appointment in a new dental office where all of the x-rays, pictures,
and probe recordings are taken, a blood pressure reading is recommended as well. Some might
question, “what does this have to do with my teeth?” It’s simple, awareness and safety.
As licensed health care providers, it is our responsibility to discuss any medical
conditions, current medications, drug allergies, and chief concerns with our patients. This
knowledge contributes to our understanding of any present infections or symptoms in which
they may be experiencing. In some cases, patients might not be aware of their reading or risks
associated with higher numbers (hypertension). According to the American Dental Association,
the updated 2017 classifications are listed below:
When presenting for a procedure where local anesthetic (or numbing) is administered,
such as a deep cleaning, a blood pressure reading is mandatorily taken. When injecting an
anesthetic containing epinephrine, there is potential for a person’s blood pressure to rise from
their initial reading due to the vasoconstriction of blood vessels. To prevent a medical
emergency from occurring, hygienists obtain a reading. In some cases, it is safer for the patient
to reschedule their appointment if their reading is too high and refer them to see their
physician for further evaluation.
Having high blood pressure threatens your health and quality of life. When left
undetected or uncontrolled, hypertension can lead to heart failure, stroke, vision loss, angina, heart attack, and kidney disease, to name a few. Not only is high blood pressure awareness
important for your health, but the reading is a preventative measure we take as dental professionals to ensure quality and safety of care to our patients.
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