As important that it is for an individual with heart disease to follow the recommendations of their medical practitioner, it is equally important that they heed the suggestions of their dentist, as several dental procedures can inflame or worsen heart and associated cardiovascular conditions. This can lead to severe outcomes such as: heart attack, stroke, hypertension, or angina.

Heart Attack

It is imperative that you inform your cardiologist that you are preparing to have dental work performed. They may suggest you delay the dental procedures until they have the opportunity to review your prescription history and to determine if there is an issue with certain medications, and bleeding. Blood-thinning pharmaceutical drugs such as anticoagulants have a tendency to cause an extreme amount of bleeding during oral procedures. Consult with your dentist to see if they have nitroglycerin on premises so in the possible event that a medical emergency occurs during oral surgery, they will be prepared.

Hypertension

Many hypertension medications can produce extreme dryness in the mouth and change your taste buds’ response to foods. Gum tissue is extremely sensitive to calcium channel blockers, whereby your gums will swell up and grow larger, making it difficult to chew your foods. Should this occur, your dentist will recommend specific oral hygiene procedures and increase the frequency of oral cleanings. This is a very serious issue, as periodontal surgery may necessitate the removal of the overgrown gum tissue, which is referred to as gingivectomy.

(See also, Diabetes and Dental Care)

Chest Pain (Angina)

Similar to having experienced a heart attack, you should take similar precaution if you afflict with chest pain, known as Angina. The interactions of oxygen can prove to be serious and again, you need to inquire if the dentist maintains a supply of nitroglycerin, in the event a medical emergency should occur. Two forms of angina dictate the necessity for dental procedures. Predictable or stable angina presents no issues for undergoing dental work, but it is the unstable angina that you should raise an eyebrow about as non-essential dental work should be abstained from and only critical dental issues be conducted in a medical facility that has the ability to monitor your cardiovascular system.

Stroke

If you suffer from the debilitating effects of a stroke, it is critical that your dentist be informed of your medical prescription history. Blood thinning drugs can spur the onset of extreme bleeding during procedures. Some stroke victims are unable to produce sufficient saliva, which in this case, your dentist will suggest an artificial saliva product.

Anesthesia

Should your dentist administer anesthesia for your dental procedure, inquire as to whether epinephrine is contained in the anesthetic. It is an additive that enhances the effectiveness of the anesthetic, by disabling small blood vessels from functioning. The primary drawback of epinephrine is that it has the potential to alter cardiovascular structure, and induce a rapid, and dangerous rise in blood pressure, spur the onset of chest pain, known as angina or possibly trigger a heart attack, as well as arrhythmia.

Consult your dentist and practitioner prior to undergoing any dental procedures.