10 Reasons We Take Your Blood Pressure In Our Dental Office

Cheri Lindstrom, RDH, explains the 10 reasons why we, at Spring Lake Dental Group, take your blood pressure when you come in for your dental visit:

  1. The check for hypertension. As dental professionals, we see you at least twice a year for your professional cleaning and exam, whereas, you may only see your physician every few years for a physical exam, making early diagnosis unlikely.
  2. To limit undiagnosed hypertensions effects on other organs of the body. There is a reason why hypertension is called the “silent killer”. The warning signs for hypertension are confusion, nosebleeds, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, blurred vision and chest pain.
  3. To avoid a hypertensive crisis. A blood pressure emergency can occur if your blood pressure reading is abnormal, which can result in a stroke, aneurysm, or heart attack.
  4. To check for “White Coat Syndrome”. Acknowledging White Coat Syndrome can assist us in helping patients take control of their cardiovascular health. Stress and anxiety can be a causative factor for heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.
  5. To check for high blood pressure reading due to dental anxiety. There are ways that we can help you reduce your stress and anxiety in the dental office. Listening to music or using nitrous oxide or “Laughing Gas” can have a calming effect on patients with dental anxiety. In our office we also offer conscious sedation, a medication that helps you feel sleepy and more relaxed.
  6. We take blood pressure on our pregnant patients. Hypertensive episodes while pregnant have serious risk factors for the mother and child. Preeclampsia is high blood pressure, water retention with swelling in the legs, as well as protein in the urine. Preeclampsia can occur during the second or third trimester.
  7. High blood pressure is linked to another silent killer, Diabetes. Over 66% of people with high blood pressure have Type II diabetes. A consistently high blood pressure reading of 135/80mmHg in a patient who reports no previous diagnosis of high blood pressure or diabetes should be referred to a physician for evaluation for both diabetes and hypertension.
  8. Excessively high blood pressure can alter the choice of anesthetic. There is a maximum dosage of epinephrine that can be administered safely to those who have diagnosed hypertension. However, epinephrine should be avoided in instances where blood pressure readings are elevated higher than 200mmHG systolic or 115Hg diastolic.
  9. Useful information is gained when we take blood pressure readings prior to treatment. Baseline blood pressures are useful prior to administration of any local anesthetic.
  10. It’s an easy diagnostic tool for us to use as we are health care professionals. We understand the link between hypertension, diabetes, and periodontal disease. Chronic inflammation due to periodontal disease has been linked to hypertension in some patients.

As dental care providers, we want to encourage our patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle which in turn can improve their overall health, and taking blood pressure in our office is just one of those ways we can help you to do that!