Whether they realize it or not, most patients are guilty of holding back with their doctor. Maybe you didn’t tell them about the vitamins you’re taking, or perhaps you weren’t completely honest about how often you floss. These omissions may seem harmless to you, but in order to treat you properly, it’s important that your physician has the complete picture. For instance, when visiting your dentist, these are some of the points that may slip your mind but are important to bring up:
- Bleeding Gums – Occasional bleeding of the gums after brushing or flossing isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, if this occurs regularly or every time you brush, it may indicate a more serious problem. Bleeding gums are a tell-tale sign of inflammation, a major indicator of an underlying infection that could affect not only your mouth, but other parts of your body as well.
- Infrequent Flossing – 27 percent of patients lie to their dentist about how often they floss. It may seem like a small, inconsequential lie, but not flossing has consequences. Plaque builds up in the tight spaces between your teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. Eventually, this plaque can lead to bacteria and in the long run, gum disease.
- Taking Aspirin – If your doctor has you on an aspirin regimen, this is something your dentist should know, particularly before any procedure such as tooth extraction. Even low doses of aspirin can cause bleeding and can be problematic if not disclosed beforehand when your dentist and his team can adequately prepare both you and themselves.
- You Have a Heart Condition or an Artificial Joint – Guidelines have recently been revised regarding which patients require antibiotics before certain dental procedures. However, there are still some who fall into a high-risk category for infective endocarditis or bacterial infection of the artificial joint. These patients should receive preventative antibiotics before their procedure to prevent bacteria from entering the blood stream and traveling to the heart or joint. To be certain that your condition does not require such precautions, be sure to share your entire medical history.
Some patients simply forget to fill in their dentist and others may be embarrassed, but your safety and quality of care all hinge on any member of your medical team having the complete picture. Try your best to tell them everything that you’re taking, divulge any medical conditions, and bring up any concerns. Answer all questions truthfully, and you’ll make things a lot easier for both of you.