Taking Accurate Blood Pressure Readings

Author: Dr. David Dickerhoff, DDS, MAGD, FOCOI

We at Spring Lake Dental Group believe that the oral cavity is a part of the larger body. We treat the entire body and understand that there are many variables that will influence treatment and the general health of our patients. We frequently treat some of our at risk patients on monitors while we are delivering care. This includes positive pressure oxygen delivery with or without nitrous oxide (laughing gas), pulse oximetry, and monitoring and recording the arterial pressure, diastolic and systolic blood pressures and heart rate. We believe that preventing a problem is better than reacting to a problem. All of our patients get screened for hypertension and our patients on blood pressure medication have their blood pressure monitored routinely. A recent article in the dental journal, General Dentistry (September/October 2019, Volume 67, Number 5) outlined basic steps for accurate blood pressure measurement.

I present these suggestions below to help us to help you

1.) Ask the patient to refrain from smoking cigarettes, drinking caffeinated coffee, and participating in strenuous activity such as exercising for at least 30 minutes before measurement.

2.) Ask the patient to urinate before the BP is taken.

3.) Have the patient take a sitting position with feet flat on the floor (legs uncrossed) in a seat that provides back support.

4.) Ask the patient to relax for 5 minutes before the BP is taken.

5.) Ensure that the patients arm is bare, no clothing should be on the arm.

6.) Ensure that the patients arm is supported at the level of the heart, the patient should not support his or her own arm.

7.) During the BP measurement, ask the patient not to; talk, move the arm, use a mobile phone or read.

8.) Minimize the background noise.

9.) Have the manometer positioned at the clinicians eye level.

10.) Use the correct cuff size

We have three different sizes of cuffs in our clinic and three different stations to house a vitalometer

But by paying attention to our patient’s blood pressure, we are treating the entire body and the complete patient. Blood pressure is one of the chief indicators of stress, dysfunction and how the body homeostasis is performing. We use this data to better treat our patients in their efforts to have a healthy oral environment.