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People who live with diabetes on a daily basis are usually instructed to eat right, maintain regular physical activity, and if necessary, take medication. What many may not know is that these medications that help control healthy insulin levels may lead to unexpected events at the dentist’s office. According to a study in the November/December 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, diabetic patients especially need to communicate special needs to their dentists. This is because of harmful interactions that could occur with materials and medications used at dental appointments.
“It is imperative that diabetic patients inform their dentist of their needs in order to anticipate medication interactions and physical reactions to treatment,” says Lee Shackelford, DDS, FAGD, spokesperson for the AGD. “The doctor must know if the patient is taking insulin and has taken their daily dose of insulin in order to anticipate the length of the appointment.”
The AGD encourages all patients, besides people with diabetes, to give their dentists as much information as possible about their current medications. “It is important that your dentist is aware of all of the medications that you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and herbal drugs as they may interact with agents that your dentist may use for your dental treatment,” advises lead author of the study, James Little, DMD, MS.
“Talk with your dentist if you are concerned about how the medications you are taking could affect your oral health,” says Dr. Shackelford. “Open communication is the best way to ensure that your dentist gives you the best treatment possible.”
Steps diabetic patients can take to ensure optimal dental care:
Find a dentist who is aware of the needs of diabetic patients.
See the dentist on a regular basis and alert him or her of any changes in your health status and medications.
Inform the dentist of any sores, swellings or areas of redness in the mouth, as well as any painful areas in the mouth.
Eat a normal meal prior to the dental appointment, take all diabetic medications on schedule, bring a blood sugar monitoring device to the appointment and inform the dentist if you feel symptoms associated with low blood sugar.
Source: Academy of General Dentistry
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.