Before any dental treatment, it is essential that you inform your dentist of your detailed medical history, including all medication you are taking.
Some medications may impede the inflammatory reaction required for healing, possibly resulting in hemorrhaging, delayed scarring or local infection following dental work.
Remember to tell your dentist about any allergies you have to specific medications.
The medication you take can have an impact on your oral health. If you are treated for any of the following diseases, here are some things you should know:
Certain types of chemotherapy can cause inflammation of the lining of the mouth. Many of these treatments also lower the body’s ability to resist opportunistic infections (virulent infections with severe complications). Receiving oral care before the start of chemotherapy and subsequently maintaining proper oral hygiene are ways to counteract or limit these side effects.
Corticosteroid therapy can be used to treat asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and allergies. Cortisone can impact the body’s ability to heal and fight infections. With inhaled cortisone, it is particularly important to maintain excellent oral hygiene in order to prevent fungal infections. The risk of infection can be reduced by rinsing your mouth with water after using the inhaler.
Depression and bipolar disorder
Medications used to treat depression and bipolar disorder often cause dry mouth. This can result in more cavities and a greater risk for gingivitis and periodontitis. In addition, some of these medications can interact with those sometimes prescribed by dentists. For example, lithium should never be taken with ibuprofen, since this can increase the amount of lithium in the bloodstream.
Thyroid disorders involve either an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) or one that is overactive (hyperthyroidism). If you have hyperthyroidism, tell your dentist how long you have been receiving treatment. If you have just started treatment or if your doctor is having difficulty controlling your condition, your dentist will avoid using adrenaline, since it can trigger an episode of hyperthyroidism.
Some diabetes medications can change a person’s ability to taste. In other cases, the action of medication could be increased when taken with aspirin, tetracycline or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, leading to a drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). In contrast, cortisone can decrease the action of certain medications for diabetes.
People who suffer from epilepsy and are taking phenytoin or valproic acid may develop gingival hyperplasia (overgrowth of the gums). To avoid or delay the onset of this condition, proper oral hygiene is a must. In some cases, a minor surgical procedure can be performed to correct the problem and facilitate oral health care.
If you suffer from glaucoma, it is very important to tell your dentist. If possible, let him or her know which type of glaucoma you have. In certain cases, the dentist will not use adrenaline when administering local anesthesia in order to avoid an increase in eye pressure.
In some patients with cardiovascular disease, the adrenaline used to extend the effect of local anesthesia can increase blood pressure. In this event, the dentist can use an adrenaline-free anesthetic. It is also important for your dentist to know which heart medication you are taking, since some of them can cause gingival hyperplasia (overgrowth of the gums). This will let the dentist monitor the situation more closely, respond in a timely manner and focus with you on the importance of oral health. Lastly, diuretic drugs prescribed for cardiovascular disease can cause dry mouth.
Immune system disorders
Medications prescribed to patients with an immune system disorder, such as AIDS, can cause a reduced production of saliva, mouth ulcers, inflammation of the lining of the mouth or a loss of feeling in and around the mouth. These medications can also interact with other drugs prescribed by dentists, such an antifungal agents or antibiotics.
Patients undergoing hemodialysis should consider visiting their dentist the day after their treatment, since they will be feeling better and the effect of the heparin administered during the procedure will have dissipated. The dentist will also avoid the use of all medications that could damage the kidneys, including aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and tetracycline. In addition, oral infections will be treated promptly, since patients undergoing hemodialysis have a weakened immune system, making infections difficult to treat. Kidney disease can also result in pallor and inflammation of the lining of the mouth, altered taste and dry mouth. It can also affect tooth enamel.
People with osteoporosis sometimes need to take bisphosphonates, a type of drug that slows down bone resorption. Fosamax, Actonel and Aclasta are the most commonly used bisphosphonates. Studies currently underway are looking to establish whether there is a link between an increased risk of osteonecrosis (a severe bone disease that affects the jaw) and the intake of bisphosphonates during tooth extractions. While no causal relationship between bisphosphonates and osteonecrosis of the jaw has yet to be definitely proven, it is important to tell you dentist if you are taking these medications so that your treatment may be adjusted accordingly.
People who suffer from coagulation disorders must avoid, as much as possible, situations that could cause bleeding. Since preventive oral care can reduce the need for extractions and dental surgery, it is particularly important for people with these disorders. Preventive care includes brushing at least twice a day, flossing every day and going to the dentist for regular checkups. If you have a coagulation disorder, be sure to tell your dentist about your medications. Coumadin, a common medication used to treat coagulation disorders, can interact with drugs sometimes prescribed by dentists.
Before any kind of dental treatment, it is very important that you inform your dentist of any change in your general health since your previous visit, and give him or her a list of prescribed and over the counter medications you are taking.
In fact, it is a good idea to always have a copy of this list with you.