HEALTH HISTORY AND HEALTH ISSUES IN DENTISTRY

As a new patient, we will require you to fill and complete a medical health history form.  This form will only be considered  complete when (1), your signature is present and (2), your dentist's signature is present.  When your dentist has signed your health history, this is a form of 'Patient Navigation', that we refer to as 'date stamping'.  This is our way of knowing that we have actually reviewed your health history.  We do the same for all incoming documents as well as radiographs (X-Ray pictures).  Your signature is vital as this indicates that the document is completely filled and disclosed to the best of your knowledge.

Your completed health history is vital and treatment, for medico-legal reasons, cannot begin until it is reviewed and date stamped.  Evaluation of your health history is necessary for the following reasons:

  • Avoiding prescribing of drugs that you may be allergic or sensitive to, e.g. antibiotics, narcotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, etc.

  • Avoiding potential drug interactions with medications already prescribed by other health care specialists.  A very common example of this is an interaction between oral contraceptives (BCPs) and antibiotics.  BCPs are less effective when combined with antibiotics and there is an increased chance of pregnancy.

  • Avoiding drug side effects due to existing medical conditions.

  • As an aid in diagnosis when you have existing medical conditions, e.g. cancer, dermatological conditions, certain anaemias, etc.

  • Avoiding medical emergencies in the dental office.

  • Evaluating treatment on medically compromised patients, e.g. diabetics and patients receiving cancer therapies.

  • Avoiding transmission of communicable diseases.

These are just some of the points that we are evaluating on your behalf.  In addition, it is imperative that our patients are aware of associations between periodontal disease (gum disease) and Cardiovascular disease.  More and more, people are aware that this association exists and, although it is not a strong association, it definitely has been scientifically shown.  What this means is that if you are susceptible to a heart attack or a stroke, having periodontal disease not only increases your chance of a cardiovascular event, but also greatly increases your chance of dying from it.  Simply put, the more periodontal disease you have, the more dangerous bacteria may be entering your bloodstream from your gums.  These bacteria then greatly increase the disease process on your heart  muscles as well as your blood vessels.  Naturally, we will be counselling you on how to reduce the bacteria in your mouth to a minimum.  This will be done during your hygiene visits and home care instruction.

IMPORTANT:  As an ongoing patient, we will be updating your health history at every recall appointment and, where indicated, will be asking you to fill out a new health history form for evaluation.  In the event that you have been prescribed a new medication or have been diagnosed with a new medical condition, please let us know as soon as possible.  We would prefer that you contact us in advance with this information.  Occasionally, your dentist will need to look up very new medications or consult with your medical practitioner.

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