Alright so I know how much everyone loves a good form to fill in, but I guess it can get a bit annoying having to re-do a medical history form (almost) every time you visit. They are stored on a secure server and only the dental staff will be able to see or access them, and only when completely necessary.
So why do we ask for them so often?
Whilst we appreciate that asking for the forms to be completed at each appointment can be time consuming, a thorough medical history is essential for all patients – it helps identify conditions that may affect dental treatment, highlights the risk of a patient experiencing a medical emergency, and aids in the diagnosis of oral manifestations of systemic disease.
Also, a lot can change in 6 months! You may be on a different medication since the last time you saw us, or hopefully you’ve come off something. But our records need to be kept up to date to keep you safe.
Details we require include any health condition, existing, short and long term conditions, childhood illnesses, operations and allergies. It is also vitally important that the dental team have an up to date list of any medication you are on to ensure that the treatment they propose is safe, this includes the name and dose of the medicine that you have been prescribed and how often you take it.
For example, if you take warfarin that thins the blood, it means that prior to extractions or invasive dental procedures you will need a blood test to check your INR level. This is to ensure that it will be possible to stop the bleeding following the procedure.
We also like to take a next of kin and details of your doctors, should anything happen whilst you’re in the practice.
There are also certain medications that can mean you will need to be referred to a specialist oral surgeon for certain procedures. This ensures that there is adequate provision in place to manage your conditions that may not be available within general dental practice. Other things we ask about are:
By listing any allergies, the dental team are able to ensure that they do not use materials or prescribe medication that may cause you to have an anaphylactic attack. Although we have the medical equipment and knowledge to stop a shock in progress, we would rather not have to use it.
If you suffer with diabetes you are at higher risk of developing gum disease and so it is important the dentist is aware so can ensure you attend for more routine appointments. Diabetic patients may also take longer to heal following a procedure.
If you suffer with epilepsy the dentist needs to know so that they can have the appropriate drugs on hand should you have an episode during treatment. Epileptic patients find that they are more likely to suffer fits when they are stressed or anxious, so it is important to make sure that you discuss any worries with the dental team.
The dentist will aim to leave any dental treatment until after the birth of your baby and will refrain from taking x-rays. During pregnancy some women find that their gums bleed and require closer attention. It may be worthwhile visiting the hygienist for regular cleaning and advice or oral care routines.
We understand there may be some instances where you are unable to complete the forms we send and would encourage you to let the receptionist know when you are booking your appointment. By failing to complete these forms, it may result in your appointment being delayed or even cancelled. We do have paper copies available if you should desire. Just make sure you arrive an extra 10 minutes before your appointment so you have time to fill it out.
A step by step guide will be available shortly for anyone who needs it.
If you would like more information about how the dentist uses your medical history, please do not hesitate to ask at your next appointment.Back to Blog