Recovering from a heart attack? Make sure you inform your dentist

A heart attack or any other cardiac procedure brings with it a list of changes and modifications in the way of living of a patient, including his/her diet, physical activities, lifestyle, etc. But what many of the patients often miss out on this list is the dental procedure that they will now need to adjust, post a cardiac procedure. Here are a few points that a cardiac patient should consider when he/she visits the dentist.

1 Avoid dental procedures for six months

If you have just had a heart attack, avoid undergoing any dental procedures for at least the nex six months. If you are on anti-coagulants, it may result in excessive bleeding during a dental surgery, so make sure you inform your dentist about your medication in case of a dental emergency.

2 High Blood Pressure

Certain drugs given to patients with a high blood pressure tend to cause dryness of the mouth and also alter the sense of taste in the patient. Calcium Channel Blockers in particular can cause you gums to swell leading to difficulty in chewing, for which your doctor may prescribe some oral hygiene instructions, and also suggest oral cleanings on a more regular basis. In some cases, if the swelling of the gums is too high, a gingivetomy (gum surgery) may also be required.

If anesthesia is required to be used, make sure that you ask your doctor whether it contains epinephrine, as epinephrine can cause cardiovascular changes in high blood pressure patients.

3 Angina

Patients with angina when treated with Calcium Channel Blockers may experience swelling in the gums and a surgery may also be required depending on the severity of the swelling. Patients with a stable angina have less cause to worry when undergoing a surgical treatment, but patients with an unstable angina should avoid getting any dental procedures done unless it is an emergency. And even in a case of a dental emergency, the procedure should be performed at a well-equipped clinic with cardiac monitoring capability.

4 Stroke

If you have suffered a stroke in the past, you would probably be on anticoagulant therapy. Make sure you inform your dentist about this as these drugs can cause excessive bleeding during dental procedures.

Your dentist would probably suggest the use of artificial saliva depending on whether the stroke has impaired your ability to produce adequate saliva. You could also be recommended the use of fluoride gels, modified brushing and flossing techniques to help you maintain good oral hygiene.

If you are a cardiac patient, you should make sure that your dentist has all your reports, including the names and dosages of the drugs you have been prescribed. Also ensure that your dentist has the names and contact details of your cardiologists

For more information on diet, health and nutrition, please email Harpinder Gill at You are welcome to email us with any question on any health topic. Please allow 24 hours for an answer, and if your query seems requiring an urgent response, expect to hear from us before that time.

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