Have you ever wondered why your family dentist and oral surgeon ask about your medical history, especially history regarding heart conditions, before any treatment?
Years of clinical studies and research have found a close link between heart diseases and oral health. Moreover, there are a lot of considerations one must keep in mind while performing oral surgery on a patient with a previous history of heart disease. This article will discuss some of the most critical questions regarding oral surgery in patients with compromised cardiovascular systems.
Why do oral surgeons ask about heart conditions?
Patients with a compromised cardiovascular system need special care when it comes to oral surgery procedures. Therefore, you must inform your oral surgeon regarding any heart condition, as small as it may be. It is also essential that your oral surgeon knows if you have had any heart surgery in recent days. Discussing your medical history with your oral and maxillofacial surgeon, will allow them to develop a treatment plan that caters to your specific needs while keeping in mind your heart condition. Oral surgery causes your mouth to bleed. In cases of a heart condition, your ability to withstand stress is impaired. In addition, the drugs used to treat heart conditions may be blood thinners that may worsen bleeding during surgery. The bacteria from the mouth may also enter your bloodstream, which can complicate cases of endocarditis and prosthetic valves as it leads to inflammation.
So, it is vital you share your complete medical history with your oral surgeon and even give them the name and contact number of your heart doctor in case they need to speak with them. In addition, if you are nervous about a particular procedure, please communicate with us so we can help you in a better way and ease your fears.
How do heart problems affect oral surgery?
In this section, we will talk about some of the most common heart problems and how they affect oral surgery.
Hypertension and Oral Surgery
Patients with high blood pressure are at an increased risk of experiencing excessive bleeding. In addition, anxiety associated with oral surgery may worsen the condition. Therefore, special attention must be paid to such situations.
Angina pectoris patients and Oral surgery
Patients with angina pectoris may experience an episode in between treatments; in such cases, treatment has to be terminated. Therefore, prior knowledge of this condition will allow your surgeon to equip themselves with all the necessary medications and equipment.
Patient with Myocardial infarction history
Elective surgery must be postponed for 6 months after an episode of MI. Specific considerations are taken with the use of local anesthetics and pain management.
Infective endocarditis patients and oral surgery
Good oral health becomes imperative in patients with infective endocarditis as these patients are at higher risk. Proper antibiotic coverage is necessary, and oral infections must be treated immediately.
Patients on anticoagulants
Patients of stroke or those on anticoagulant medications (blood thinners) are at an increased risk of severe bleeding post-oral surgical procedures. Therefore, added hemostatic measures have to be taken. For more invasive surgeries, blood thinners may have to be stopped some days before the procedure. These steps are taken with consultation from your treating physician.
Can I have an oral surgery with heart conditions?
Ischemic heart disease, Hypertension, Dysrhythmias, Stroke, and Infective Endocarditis are some of the most commonly occurring cardiovascular conditions. The question of whether a person with a heart condition can have oral surgery is quite common. However, there is no straightforward way of answering this question.
It is recommended that you wait for at least 6 months after an episode of stroke or infarction to undergo an elective surgery procedure. A patient must be healthy and under proper medications to undergo oral surgery. If emergency surgery is needed, a patient with a heart condition can undergo oral surgery with due consent of the treating physician, and the oral surgeon, in such cases, will undertake certain special precautions.
Other conditions like high blood pressure may also contraindicate oral surgery. However, proper treatment and lowering of blood pressure will make oral surgery possible in the near future without risks.
If you have a prosthetic valve or have been diagnosed with infective endocarditis, you will be put on a prophylactic antibiotic course before oral surgery. This is because the bacteria from your mouth may enter the bloodstream during surgery.
Why do I need to take medications before oral surgery?
You will be asked to continue your medications strictly if you are on medications for high blood pressure, angina, MI, stroke, or any other heart condition. Ensuring your heart condition is under proper control is key to ensuring your oral surgery is uneventful, and you have a seamless recovery.
Your oral surgeon in Phoenix, AZ, may also contact your treating physician to obtain medical clearance before suggesting you a surgical procedure. Regular procedures such as single tooth extractions may be carried out without any problems; however, for a more invasive procedure, medical consent becomes mandatory. Your systemic health guides your recovery and how you handle surgery's stress. Therefore, please make sure you are taking your medications in prescribed doses regularly, especially before oral surgery, if otherwise indicated.
Can I go under general anesthesia with heart conditions?
Most oral and maxillofacial surgeries are invasive. These procedures cannot be carried out under local anesthesia—for example, surgeries to fix jaw fractures or removal of any oral cyst or tumor. Therefore, general anesthesia is utilized for such surgeries, which puts you to sleep.
For most patients with a heart condition, general anesthesia can be used without any problems. The anesthetist will adjust the dosages accordingly. You may also be sent to your physician for treatment of the underlying condition and also for approval.
So, the next time you make an appointment with us at Phoenix Oral and Facial Surgery. We are fully equipped to handle any cardiac emergency. All you need to do is to let us know about any of your heart conditions prior to your appointment. For any more questions, please reach out to us. Our team of excellent professionals is here to assist you.