Why it’s important to keep your medical history up-to-date with your dentist

Posted: Jun 01 2022

Have you ever wondered why your dentist asks you to update you medical history?

Informing and regularly updating your medical history helps your Dentist to provide the best, but importantly the safest dental care for you. This may include details of the following.

  • Past and current medical conditions
  • Medical treatments
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications

Knowing this information decreases the likelihood of complications during or after dental treatment, such as drug interactions, increased risk of infection or bleeding, and ensures your dentist is aware of all the health and lifestyle factors which may impact on your oral and general health.

For example, did you know that there are more than 600 medications (both prescribed and over-the-counter) which can cause a dry mouth? These medications may be provided as tablets, sprays or inhalers, injections or patches, and include those for the treatment of high blood pressure, asthma, hay fever, pain, anxiety and depression, epilepsy, and reflux. A dry mouth increases your risk of dental decay, toothwear and oral fungal infection.

A ‘simple clean’ can have major complications if the dentist doesn’t know that you have an artificial heart valve, or you are receiving a chemotherapy drug every 8 weeks for a non-cancer related condition. In addition, some medications can delay or even prevent healing after an extraction. For example medications used to treat osteoporosis can cause serious problems with healing, and these medications given as an injection every 6 months or sometimes even annually, are easily forgotten by a patient.

The Dental Board of Australia requires all dental practitioners to check and update their patients’ medical conditions and medications every 2 years, and also to ensure that this information is completed by the patient themselves.

You can be confident that all the information you tell your dentist is completely private and confidential, as all registered dental practitioners abide by the Dental Board of Australia’s strict Code of Conduct guidelines.

Posted: Jun 01 2022


The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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