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envisage Happiness Blog: General Dentistry

Importance of an up to date medical history

Importance of an up to date medical history

Posted on April 11, 2016 by Amanda Byrne in General Dentistry (clinic: Basingstoke)

Here at Envisage Dental we take patient care very seriously and this is why as of January this year we have been asking all our patients to fill in a Medical History form.

This is a requirement of us from the General Dental Council (GDC) and Care Quality Commission (CQC). The form is entirely confidential but many patients are concerned about why we asking about your medical histories and why that information is relevant or important to us. This article will hopefully make things clearer.

We ask about your smoking status as smoking not only has a negative effect on your general health and wellbeing but it can also affect your gingival (gum) health too. Orally smokers are more susceptible to periodontitis which is a more severe form of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss, there is also the risk of mouth cancer. As healthcare providers we are expected to inform you of these facts and give smoking cessation advice if it is required.

Similarly we ask about diabetes. Gum disease is a complication of poorly controlled diabetes along with poor wound healing. If your diabetes is uncontrolled it can affect your gum health but it also works the other way - if your gum health is poor this can affect your diabetes. The altered wound healing means that diabetics may not respond as quickly to dental hygiene treatment.

One of questions on the medical history form is about the use of recreational drugs. Dependent on the recreational drugs there may be a higher rate of dental decay, tooth grinding and periodontitis. Some drugs can interfere with our anesthetics rendering them ineffective but use of cocaine can present a potentially life threatening situation when anesthetic is administered. A positive response to the question of recreation drug use will not shock us or cause us to discriminate against you - we simply need the information to treat you better in the surgery.

All of the medicines prescribed by you doctor have side effects and usually some of these are oral side effects. It is these oral side effects that are of most interest to us in the dental surgery. Some prescribed medicines can increase bleeding such as warfarin and aspirin, some can increase your susceptibility to infections and some can even cause your gums to swell. Many prescribed medicines cause a dry mouth which is of particular concern to us as it can increase the risk of dental decay and gum disease.

Knowing your medicines and medical history allows us to adjust our treatment whenever possible. So please don't be offended by the medical history form it is not an attempt to pry into your private life,more that we would like to treat you in the best way we possibly can and the Medical History form makes that possible.

At Envisage Dental we value your trust and we keep any information given on the Medical History form entirely private and confidential.

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