Dentists Saving Lives
In the past 2 weeks, I’ve had 3 patients needing extractions. All three patients looked healthy enough. But, their health histories indicated they were on medication for high blood pressure.
I routinely take BPs before doing any extractions. These three patients all had SKY-HIGH blood pressures! All of them had systolics over 200 and diastolics over 150! Yeeeeee-ikes!
Isn’t it weird how these things happen in cycles? Incidentally, all three patients were males. And two out of the three admitted not taking their medications. All three were dismissive of my concern. I was able to convince two of them to immediately see their physicians. “Your blood pressure isn’t just a little high. It’s SCARY high.” I used those exact words.
The last thing I need, as a dentist, is to be the one that lit the fuse on the heart attack or stroke “bomb.” These patients will sometimes get upset or claim I’m making a big deal out of nothing. I’ll smile and say, “I haven’t killed anybody yet, and I don’t want you to be the first one.”
I also informed my patients about the potential damage of uncontrolled blood pressure (all of which don’t cause pain):
- Kidney failure
- Retinal damage
- Aneurysm or stroke
- Heart attack
- Enlargement of the heart
- Pulmonary edema
- and even sexual dysfunction
Make sure you read those medical histories. If you don’t have one already, get an automatic BP cuffs. Take the BP before and after extractions. And, if the patient’s BP is high, don’t take any chances! You might even save a life!