Should people with high blood pressure take precautions when undergoing dental treatments?

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High blood pressureIt is usually safe to have dental treatments done even if suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure). Before undergoing dental treatments, the dentist might ask to take a blood pressure reading. Local anaesthetics can be safely received even if they contain epinephrine (adrenaline). Also, most people with high blood pressure can safely take anti-anxiety medication, such as nitrous oxide or diazepam (Valium).

There are a few drugs that are prescribed to treat hypertension that cause xerostomia (dry mouth) or dysgeusia (altered sense of taste). Other medications may prompt to fainting when the patient is raised from the somewhat flat position in the dentist's chair to a standing or sitting position.

Some anti-hypertensive drugs, such as calcium channel blockers, can cause gingival hyperplasia (overgrowth of the gums). Gingival hyperplasia can begin as soon as one month after someone starts taking the drug. Some people's gums become so large they have difficulty chewing and surgery is required to make the correction. If the dentist detects that problem, the patient must follow detailed hygiene instructions and have more frequent cleanings.

The information above should be used as a reference only. Any medical decision should not be done before consulting a health care professional.

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