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Why are Drs. Eric and Casey Burns Checking My Blood Pressure?

Many of our patients ask us why we check blood pressure before performing dental treatment.  There are several reasons.  First of all, we are generally concerned with the overall health of out patients.   Hypertension a.k.a. high blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke, therefore the leading cause of death worldwide.  One in three people have hypertension and are not aware.  Our patients generally see us every three to six months for dental cleanings so checking blood pressure at these appointments may be the only time a patient is having their blood pressure monitored.  If a patient’s blood pressure is elevated, we advise them to monitor it and see their physician.  Another reason we check blood pressure is because many dental anesthetics contain epinephrine.  Epinephrine is a vasoconstrictor which causes the blood vessels to tighten and, as a result,  helps in many dental procedures by allowing the anesthetic to stay in a local area, last longer and reduce bleeding.   However, because epinephrine is a vasoconstrictor, it can cause the blood pressure to elevate and can sometimes cause cardiac arrythmias.  For this reason, we monitor blood pressure before giving patients local anesthetics.  Dental health is closely related to overall health so it is important for a dentist to be aware of any medical issues a patient is experiencing.  For more information on our practice and the services we provide, please visit our Eric and Casey Burns DDS.  kg