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What medications does my dentist need to know about?

Your dentist should know all your regular medications

The side effects of many common prescription medications include problems in the mouth. By knowing your medications, the dentist can correctly identify and treat any that you develop. Common side-effects include dry mouth, inflammation (puffiness) of the gums, general sensitivity in the mouth and an increased chance of fungal infections.

Multiple medications are common

In a recent American study, Mayo Clinic and Olmstead Medical Center researchers found that nearly 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug regularly—and more than half of those take two or more.

According to the manufacturers of over 400 common medications, dental problems can occur from the following classes of drugs:

  • Antihistamines
  • Acne medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Blood thinners (anticoagulants)
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Diabetes medications
  • Heart medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Anti-psychotics
  • Lung inhalers
  • Narcotic pain relievers
  • Rheumatoid arthritis medications
  • Seizure medications
  • Statins
  • Stimulants
  • Thyroid medications

Medications – like bisphosphonates and Prolia- increase risks following dental treatment

Secondly, dental treatments present greater risks with some medications. A well-known example is blood thinners which require special management prior to having a tooth extracted.

Bisphosphonates are another important example. They are used to treat a range of pathologies of bone including Paget’s disease, osteoporosis, multiple myeloma and metastasis associated with breast or prostate cancer.

Prolia is a another type of medication for osteoporosis which is given by injection twice a year. Bisphosphonates and Prolia alter bone metabolism and increase the risk of delayed bone healing. A condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw can occur following extraction of a tooth. This leads to bone pain, loss of bone function and bone destruction resulting in impairment of blood supply.

There is no treatment for this side-effect, so prevention is key. During the delayed healing, there is also a greater risk of developing localised infection.

Bli Bli Smiles…for the teeth of your life