Why Blood Pressure Is Important At Dental Visits

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Have you ever wondered why we take blood pressure before you receive a local anesthetic for dental work?

When we administer local anesthesia (numbing) before dental work, it is important for us to know your blood pressure because the anesthetic has epinephrine in it. Epinephrine is necessary to achieve profound numbness (we do not want you to feel pain during the procedure) for the expected duration of time. The epinephrine allows for the anesthetic to take full effect instead of being only partially numb and for it to stay in your system rather than wear off during the procedure.

If you have high blood pressure, we cannot administer a local anesthetic because the epinephrine could induce a cardiac episode. It increases your blood pressure and elevates your heart rate which can lead to a heart attack. This is the last thing anyone wants to happen! Someone with healthy blood pressure does not have to be concerned that this could occur.

It is common for people to be nervous at doctors’ appointments (White Coat Syndrome), so if we take your blood pressure and it is initially high, we will let you sit and relax for a few minutes before taking it again. Usually, this will help to decrease your blood pressure. If it is still outside of a healthy or unsafe range, we will recommend you see your primary care physician for an evaluation prior to proceeding with any dental work that may require you to be numb.

We know this can be inconvenient, but we care about your overall health (not just your teeth) and have your best interests at heart. We want to do what is both safe and healthy for you. If it has been a while since you have been to the dentist, we invite you to schedule a consultation or dental checkup with our dentist, Dr. Kime Whitman at Leesburg Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. We are here to help you make the most of your smile, safely! Please call 703-831-3952 to learn more or to schedule a dental visit in Leesburg, Virginia.