Atenolol, Prozac, Coumadin, Fosamax, Omeprazole, Lisinopril. We all have a patient with a long list of medications that, at a glance, resemble alphabet soup. Often, these are the same patients who are battling complex medical conditions and are being seen by multiple physicians. Obtaining a comprehensive medical history is crucial. I am always glad when my patient comes prepared with a detailed log of their past surgeries and medical diagnoses. Other patients are less certain about their history. Some patients report they are “taking a bunch of pills that [so and so] organizes for me every week” (obviously an unclear picture of their current medications).
“When was the last time you visited the dentist?” “Do you floss regularly?” These two questions are an essential part of my dental history repertoire that I ask all my patients. However, this time I was not the one asking the questions, I was the one answering the questions. Earlier last year I switched my primary care physician (PCP) and was inspired by her interest in my oral health. As a dentist we often find ourselves contacting physicians for medical clearance for our medically compromised patients. We often forget that physicians and other non-dental healthcare providers can also play a vital role in promoting oral health.