Saturday, May 31, 2008

California Dental Hygienists Urge Californians To Provide Full Medical History

Many Californians compromise their health because they do not think that disclosing their medical history at the dental office is that important, say officials from the California Dental Hygienists' Association (CDHA), who warn that patients need to provide a full medical history to their oral care provider.

"When patients arrive at a dentist's office, they often don't take the medical history questionnaire very seriously," says CDHA president Jean Honny. "But their answers can help us prevent complications."

The daily regimen of aspirin is an example of what to disclose to your dentists, as patients should always list all medications they are taking to avoid complications during and following dental procedures. By disclosing one's medical history, a person who had suffered a heart attack or stroke would be told that they should not have any elective dental work done for six months after the event.

The California Dental Hygienist Association (CDHA) has recently embarked on a campaign to inform people about the importance of providing a full medical history at a dental office. The CDHA has created an index card about the American Heart Association recommended pre-medication guidelines and blood pressure guidelines to give to the dental healthcare professionals and patients.

Along with the informative guideline index card, the following are helpful tips for patients to keep in mind when visiting a dental office:

- If your dentist or dental hygienist does not review your medical history with you, ask them to;

- Please bring any medications you take to your visit. That way, the dentist or dental hygienist can look up your medications to determine if there are any side effects that could affect your oral health or limit any dental treatment;

- Be sure to mention any supplements you are taking, including vitamins, minerals and herbs because they can also play a role in your dental treatment;

- If your dentist or dental hygienist does not take your blood pressure at your visit, especially before getting an injection in your mouth, ask them to do so. High blood pressure is a silent killer and often goes unnoticed.

"We want patients to know they are protecting themselves by taking a few extra minutes to provide a full health history," says Honny.

The California Dental Hygienists' Association (CDHA) is the authoritative voice of the state's dental hygiene profession. The organization was established 20 years ago when two regional associations merged to form a unified professional group. CDHA represents thousands of dental hygienists throughout the state and is dedicated to expanding opportunities for the profession and access to care for all Californians.

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