You will have no doubt noticed that you are asked at every dental appointment to fill in a medical history form. Cue groans!
The forms can vary from dental practice to dental practice but what they have in common is that they often cause irritation to patients.
Richard Whitcombe, the principal dentist at Castle Gate Dental Practice near Stroud wants to reassure patients that these forms are important, so please take your time and consider your responses when filling them in.
Treating you safely
To allow our Dursley dentist and his team to treat you safely we request that you tell us about your medical history, any medication you may be taking and whether anything has changed medically since the last time you visited.
And by anything, we mean anything. This includes any medical issue that has affected your whole body – not just your mouth or from your neck upwards. Just this week, a patient forgot to mention that he’d had a pacemaker fitted. He didn’t think it was important because it had nothing to do with his mouth.
But pacemakers can be affected by the ultrasonic machines used by dental hygienists. Fortunately he wasn’t seeing the hygienist that day and his lapse of communication was picked up, so everything was fine.
When we say medication this includes the contraceptive pill, inhalers, antibiotics, bisphosphonates, over-the-counter medication and recreational drugs. Certain medications can affect your dental health and the treatments available to you, as well as affecting the way other medications work.
Some medical conditions and the medication prescribed for them can affect your mouth even if the illness has nothing to do with it. Cancer medication can cause a dry mouth because it affects the amount of saliva produced. Saliva plays an important role in preventing dental decay, so please let us know if you feel your medication is causing a dry mouth, so that we can keep an even closer eye on your dental health.
What happens to my medical history form?
You may be asked to complete a new medical history form every six months as this is now a legal requirement. Your medical history form is not just filed away; it is scanned, recorded and referred to if there is a problem. If you have any concerns or doubts, please just ask or contact us and we will be happy to explain.
The door to our dental practice in Parsonage Street is always open to new patients from across Gloucestershire and emergency patients who may be holidaying nearby. Please give our friendly team a ring for more information. We look forward to hearing from you and your family.