Word of Mouth (Continued)

The Importance of a Medical History

There's a tendency on the part of both patient and medical professionals to assume dentists deal with your mouth and your other health care providers deal with everything else. But that's wrong. Your dentist needs to know the specifics of your health as much as — maybe more than — your other health care providers.  S/he should ask you a lot of questions when you are in the office.

Of course he/she should first ask about your diabetes or pre-diabetes.  But you should also be asked about your family history and tendencies toward these and other medical issues. You should be asked about the specifics of your diabetes, including your level of control, your blood glucose, your HbA1c and even your CRP (C reactive protein). Of course you should know these numbers as well for yourself.

And tell your dentist not just what medications you take but the doses and when you take them. 

Why?  Because your medications can affect any procedures a dentist performs.   For instance, say you are going to have implant surgery. That's a perfectly fine procedure for persons with diabetes.  But the surgery places some extra stress on your system that your medications can help control, if they are timed properly.

Another, separate point: Always tell your dentist what and when you've eaten.  And ask if your dentist's office is equipped with an emergency response kit to deal with the most common in-office emergency, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Do all dentists have this knowledge? They should, but it's up to you to find out.  So if your dentist isn't asking the right questions of you, you should start asking your dentist questions. Remember it's a partnership!

I love helping people and am here to answer your questions about diabetes and your mouth.   Just email me at: askdrgoldberg@dlife.com.

To your health,

Michael

Dr. Michael J Goldberg is the former Director of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital's General Practice Residency Program and a principal in Manhattan Dental Health. He is the author of "What The Tooth Fairy Didn't Tell You" (Barber, Cosby).

Read Dr. Michael Goldberg's bio.

Read more of Dr. Goldberg's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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Last Modified Date: December 04, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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