Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dental student calls on dentists to take patients’ blood pressure

14.09.2004


University of Michigan dentistry student Sara Kellogg believes dentists could save lives simply by taking a few minutes to measure the blood pressure of every patient.



This isn’t just the opinion of one dentist-to-be. Kellogg has data to back it up. In an article in the Sept. 10 issue of the Journal of Dental Education, Kellogg reports that after reviewing the records of patients treated at U-M School of Dentistry clinics in 1999, she found about one third had high blood pressure. More significantly, nearly half of those had never been diagnosed as hypertensive.

High blood pressure is called the silent killer because although it contributes to such potential killers as stroke and heart attack, those who suffer from it often have no signs or symptoms. “As dentists, we have the opportunity to screen for this medical condition,” said Kellogg’s faculty advisor, Jack Gobetti, U-M professor of dentistry. “Blood pressure screening is going to be part of the modern dental office protocol. “It is a tremendous public service to do this as a public health screening,” Gobetti said.


U-M student dentists are encouraged to follow the protocol to measure patients’ blood pressure before treatment, Gobetti and Kellogg noted. They told the story of one healthy-looking woman who came in for treatment and the student measuring her blood pressure thought the equipment must be faulty because it showed a reading of 226 over 136. After repeated checks, Gobetti confirmed that, yes, the equipment was working. The woman was referred to the emergency room and immediately put on medications to control her previously undiagnosed hypertension.

High blood pressure is defined as 140 over 90 or higher. Blood pressure of 120 over 80 is generally considered ideal. People between these categories are called pre-hypertensive, a category that also requires medical observation.

Kellogg noted that many people see their dentist more regularly than a physician and could get an early warning about high blood pressure when getting their teeth cleaned or having some other dental treatment done.

Kellogg would like to see every dentist take an initial blood pressure reading for every new patient, then record blood pressure with every follow-up visit.

The benefit is not only for the patient. Gobetti said anesthetic behaves differently in patients with high blood pressure and hypertensive patients typically bleed more during surgery, so dentists should know patients’ blood pressures before beginning treatment. Some patients, he said, should be referred for medical evaluation before receiving dental treatment, and should not be treated until their blood pressure is under control.

Few people relish the thought of a filling or root canal. Gobetti said a typical patient’s blood pressure might rise by 10 or 15 points because of nervousness just walking into a dentist’s office. However if the dentist has a record of blood pressure readings for the last few years of office visits, the dentist can see if a reading is particularly high for that patient.

A Health and Human Services study released in August states that about 31 percent of Americans suffer from hypertension, almost identical to the rates Kellogg found.

Still, Kellogg said that because the dental school tends to see a population that includes many patients without insurance or with minimal insurance, it is possible they are less likely to visit their doctors for check-ups than the general population. If that is the case, she said, it is even more important that dental schools around the country take the lead in making blood pressure determination a standard part of office visit procedure.

Kellogg began this research project while an undergraduate student at Kalamazoo College in western Michigan. She knew she wanted to come to Michigan for dental school, so she sought out a research project at U-M School of Dentistry to initiate her senior project, required by Kalamazoo for graduation.

Now beginning her second year of dental school, Kellogg already has won first place at the American Dental Education Association for her student research presentation. Gobetti applauded her ambition and dedication, and said she’s gotten an ideal educational experience about the demands and rewards of research.

Kellogg will graduate from the School of Dentistry in 2007.

Colleen Newvine | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>