Managing Dental Health With Cardiovascular Issues

Today, some research indicates a link between heart conditions and gum disease. In particular, individuals with periodontal disease may have a higher risk of having strokes, as well as suffering from coronary artery disease. While the mechanisms are not clearly understood, the actions of certain bacteria point to two possible causes. In particular, the bacteria that cause plaque in your mouth may also travel in the bloodstream, and then contribute to the build up of fatty plaque on the walls of your arteries. As you may be aware, these deposits can block blood flow, as well as break off and form fatal clots. Some researchers also consider that plaque-causing bacteria force the liver to make proteins that irritate blood vessels. This inflammation eventually leads to strokes and heart attacks.

If you have symptoms of periodontal disease, it is very important to have it taken care of as quickly as possible. For example, if you have red/swollen gums, persistent halitosis, gums that bleed or pull away from your teeth, loose teeth, or changes in your bite pattern, it is time to discuss the matter with your dentist. Depending on the situation, you may be referred to a periodontist for further testing and treatment.

Why Procedure is Used

If you have hypertension or CHF (congestive heart failure) the medications you take may cause a dry mouth. Unfortunately, a number of cardiac disorders, as well as medications designed to treat high cholesterol may cause you to feel dizzy when the dentist changes the position of your chair from laying down to sitting or standing. As you may be aware, high cholesterol can also indicate a greater risk of stroke and heart attack. The medications used for this condition may also interfere with some drugs that your dentist may want to prescribe. Therefore, you should provide a list of everything you are taking, as well as the dosages.

When you have severe CHF, it is best not to lay down for too long. As you may be aware, this can lead to an increased buildup of fluid in the lungs. If your dentist needs to change the position of the chair, it should be done slowly. Depending on your situation, the dentist may want to consult with your doctor in order to find out how extensive your CHF is. If you have a specific level of limitation, you may need to have dental procedures in a hospital setting.

Even though a CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft) will not affect your oral health, it may cause you to have pain when reclining in a dentist chair. If possible, it will be to your advantage to wait a few weeks before undergoing dental work. That said, if you need to have procedure done, your dentist may be able help you find a more comfortable position.

Patient Concerns to be Addressed

Typically, individuals with Cyanotic heart disease, as well as certain other heart conditions may require antibiotic treatment in order to ensure the heart does not become infected. As you may be aware, endocarditis occurs when bacteria get into the blood, and then attach to damaged heart tissue and valves. Antibiotics are usually used in circumstances where the dental procedure may cause bleeding. If you have had endocarditis in the past, you will most likely need to have antibiotics before undergoing certain dental procedures. For example, these medications may be necessary if you are going to have gum surgery, or certain types of root treatment.

In addition, if you had a heart transplant, use an artificial heart, or have heart valve problems, antibiotics may be crucial for protecting your health. As may be expected, if there were any incomplete or imperfect repairs to a heart defect, you may still need to take antibiotics before, during, and after certain dental procedures. That said, if the repair did not leave any defects, you may not need antibiotics after the first six months following the surgery.

Not so long ago, individuals with rheumatic heart disease were advised to use antibiotics prior to certain dental procedures. Today, guidelines have changed to exclude these people from this type of prophylactic treatment. In addition, individuals with mitral valve prolapse, certain congenital heart conditions, bicuspid valve disease, cardiomyopathy, and calcified aortic stenosis may no longer need antibiotic covers.

Fortunately, there are many dental procedures that do not require antibiotics. This includes X-rays, placement of brackets for braces, denture or removable appliance placement, anaesthesia for non-infected sites, bleeding associated with trauma, and baby teeth that are lost naturally.

How Is Procedure Performed?

When you have high blood pressure, the dentist will want to check your blood pressure at each visit in order to determine if you can have certain treatments. As may be expected, your options may be limited by other medications, as well as how high your pressure is, and the level of control. In some cases, you may want to make use of Valium (diazepam), or nitrous oxide in order to manage anxiety prior to dental procedures. Even though you have hypertension, you should also be able tolerate anaesthetics that contain epinephrine.

After a heart attack (myocardial infarction), it is best to wait a minimum of six months before having dental procedures. Typically, your dentist and doctor will want to consult before moving forward with dental treatment. This is especially important for heart attack and stroke survivors that are on blood thinners. Since your blood is less likely to clot properly, your dentist will want to know more about the medications you are taking, the dosages, and your most recent bloodwork findings.

As with patients that had a heart attack, if you have angina, you should make sure that your dentist has oxygen and nitroglycerine on hand. If you have angina, you may want to make sure that your heart is monitored during dental procedures. Since stress can trigger an angina episode, you may also want to discuss this with your dentist.

Even though a pacemaker may not have any effects on your oral health, you will need to exercise some precautions when visiting the dentist. In particular, you should make sure that none of the equipment in the office will interfere with the pacemaker. This includes electrosurgical tools, as well as ultrasound machines. While there is a low risk associated with electromagnetic issues, you may still want to double check with your doctor, as well as the manufacturer of the pacemaker. As may be expected, it will be best to wait a few weeks after a pacemaker is inserted before having dental procedures. Depending on the situation, you may need to have antibiotics.

Perils of Disease

If you take calcium channel blockers, or other medications for high blood pressure or angina, they can cause gum overgrowth. In some cases, this can lead to difficulty with chewing. Once you stop using these medications, your gums may begin to recede. That said, you may need to have gum surgery in order to restore good oral health.

After a stroke, you may also notice some oral complications along with blurred vision, memory changes, and personality alterations. For example, you may have paralysis on one side of the body that makes it difficult to move your tongue, swallow, speak, and recognise when there is food left in your mouth. Depending on your situation, you may want to obtain special floss holders and toothbrushes that will make it easier to take care of your mouth. Some individuals also need to have dentures adjusted after a stroke.