Why do you need to share your medical history with the dentist?

Published on 09/10/2017

When you first attend for an appointment at Leigh Dental Centre you will be asked to complete a confidential medical history questionnaire. This will help to form the basis of your dental record and enables the dentist to provide you with the best possible dental treatment plan.

What does the dentist need to know?

It is important that you fill out the medical history questionnaire in as much detail as possible. Even if you do not think it relates to your oral hygiene, it is important that the dentist is aware if you are taking medication, are undergoing any medical treatment, have ongoing medical conditions or have had any surgery within the last six months.

We are treating you, not just your teeth!

Below are some examples of questions and the reasons we ask them

  • Have you ever had liver or kidney disease? If yes, some patients require lower doses of local anaesthetic. Patients can also be at increased risk of gingival hyperplasia.
  • Do you suffer from Arthritis? This can affect a patient’s oral health and some medications for arthritis can affect treatment options.
  • Do you suffer from any Infectious Diseases such as HIV/​Hepatitis? Patients can be more susceptible to infection and take longer to heal, which may affect treatment options. There is also a higher risk of certain gum conditions.
  • Have you ever had brain surgery? Patients who have had brain surgery can be more at risk of CJD.
  • Have you ever had growth hormone treatment? Before 1980’s, growth hormones were administered by transplantation of extracts from human tissue and this has since been linked with CJD.
  • How many units of alcohol do you drink per week? Patients who smoke as well as drink alcohol are at increased risk of Oral Cancer. Gum disease is also more likely.

Details of your medication are especially important. Certain medications will affect which treatments it is safe to perform within the dental surgery. If you are on blood thinning medication such as Warfarin, the dentist may need you to get your INR checked to confirm your clotting levels before performing certain invasive procedures, such as tooth extractions.

How often does my medical history need updating?

After your first visit, it is important that you notify the dentist of any changes to your medical history every time you attend. This will ensure that you will always receive the most appropriate care.

How can I be sure the information will be handled and stored securely?

Here at Leigh Dental Centre we are registered with the Information Commissioners Office who regulate how we store and handle all patient information. Dentists are bound in the same way as GPs to patient confidentiality and we will never share your information without first gaining your consent. For example, this may be necessary if we need to refer you for specialist treatment.

Remember next time you are updating your medical history, the team at Leigh Dental Centre care about your health and want to give you the personalised attention you need, so please be sure to let us know your complete medical history. If you would like to discuss your needs further, do not hesitate to call Leigh Dental Centre today on 01702 472929.