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7 Medical History Details Your Dentist Must Know

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When you sign in for the first time at a new dental practice, you receive a packet of new patient paperwork to fill out. This paperwork almost always includes several pages of medical history questions that may include family history, medical condition, and lifestyle questions.

Whether you answer these questions automatically or hesitate, you likely wonder why your dentist needs certain medical history details.

When you go to a primary care physician, you can immediately see how all of your medical information is relevant to the doctor's diagnostic process. However, many patients aren't sure how their medical information is relevant at the dentist's and may therefore omit, minimize, or fail to update their information.

In this blog, we list seven of the most fundamental medical history details your dentist needs in order to treat you and explain the reasoning behind them.

1. Allergies

When you have several allergies or a single specific allergy that doesn't seem likely to arise in a dentist's office, you may wonder why you have to write your allergies down at all. The primary reason to record your allergies is that certain allergies often correlate to others factors.

For example, a penicillin allergy often means you'll be allergic to antibiotics in the same family and your dentist should not prescribe those either.

2. Cardiovascular Conditions and Procedures

Patients with a history of cardiovascular defects, events, or procedures require different preparation for dental procedures than other patients. Dental staff must also more closely monitor your vitals while you're under anesthetic if you've had cardiovascular issues.

3. Current Health Conditions Under Treatment

If you went to see another specialist, such as dermatologist or psychiatrist, you wouldn't withhold information about treatment prescribed by your primary care physician. Think of sharing information with your dentist the same way.

Many medical procedures can interact with each other, and your dentist must know about any potential risks before you undergo a new treatment.

4. Current Medications

On your medical history paperwork, you should list all medication you take, including herbal supplements and over-the-counter medicine. Record the dosage and frequency with which you take the medication, if possible.

While these medications may not seem as important as your prescriptions, they can have a significant impact on your treatment. For example, generic aspirin can affect blood clotting and make certain dental procedures dangerous until the aspirin leaves your system.

5. Family History of Diabetes

While you should report all potentially relevant conditions that you and your immediate family members have, you should be particularly vigilant in reporting diabetes. Diabetes can have a large impact on your need for dental care, and a diabetes diagnosis automatically puts you at a higher risk of certain dental conditions, like periodontal disease.

Additionally, because diabetes undermines your immune system, it may disqualify you from certain elective procedures unless you undergo an antibiotics regimen first.

6. Recent Pregnancy History

Pregnancy hormones affect oral health, and dental procedures can also affect fetal development. Your dentist must know if you are pregnant, recently pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant at the time of treatment.

7. Substance Use and Abuse History

Dentists understand that lifestyle choices are often a sensitive subject. However, all substances, both legal and illegal can have a significant impact on oral health. For example, tobacco products dramatically increase the risk of infection after oral surgery.

Give your dentist an accurate idea of your alcohol, tobacco, and any other substances habits.

If you have left information off your medical history forms in the past or your medical history information has changed since you completed the paperwork, update your records at your dentist's office. This step ensures that both you and your dentist make confident, informed decisions about your care.

For compassionate, personalized care, trust the staff at Joseph M. Perry D.D.S. P.A.