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From the Chair of a Hygienist: Blood Pressure

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

Why is my dentist taking my blood pressure?

Let's first discuss blood pressure and why this is so important to your dentist too!

We take it because we care.

Taking your blood pressure is just a small part of the comprehensive care we give our patients –but this small act could save your life. For most patients, the dentist is the only health care provider they see on a regular basis. Many serious medical conditions can first be detected in your mouth, so in a way we are your first line of defense to systemic health and at Pax Dental, we focus on overall health, not just mouth health.

What do the different numbers mean?

The top number is the systolic pressure. Systolic pressure measures the force the heart exerts on the walls of the arteries each time the heart beats. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure. Diastolic pressure measures the force the heart exerts on the walls of the arteries between beats when the heart muscle is resting and refilling with blood.

Where should my numbers be?

In 2017, the American Heart Association set new guidelines for hypertension, the chart is listed below. When your numbers are reading in the crisis zone, your dental work is no longer our priority, your life is. We have the moral obligation at that time to forgo treatment and recommend you go to the emergency room.

What’s the oral-systemic connection?

Dental care is so much more than just cleanings and fillings. We are a crucial part of your health care that focuses on the health of the mouth and how it relates to the rest of the body. Tooth decay, gingival inflammation, bleeding gums, and dry mouth can all be connected to cardiovascular health. Any of these clinical signs coupled with consistent high blood pressure readings are reason enough to recommend seeing your primary care provider for an evaluation. High blood pressure is a silent killer because most people don’t know they have it until they are tested for it, or until they have a heart attack. Heart attacks and strokes affect millions of Americans every year, and nearly half of those people are killed by said heart attack or stroke.

White Coat Syndrome and the Pax Difference.

We recognize that people have dental stress and anxiety in the office. Typically, white coat syndrome can increase your blood pressure by 5-30mmHG, so for patients that already have elevated blood pressure, this increase can provoke a medical emergency. This is why at Pax Dental our goal is to make you as comfortable as possible. There are multiple way we can help you relax, such as topical numbing gels, local anesthetics, blankets, television, music, or nitrous oxide. The Pax Dental family is here to change your perception of dental visits!

Photo used with permission.

Ready, Set, Schedule.

Really, we can't wait to meet you! Not sure what you need? Come in for a check-up or for a teeth cleaning. We can take it from there and evaluate what might be the next step in your dental care. You can schedule by phone (301-863-8822) or by our online portal See you soon. Our dentist and dental hygienist are on standby waiting for your call....

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