Updating Your Health History

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Happy New Year from all of us at Anderson Family Dentistry. The new year brings the usual resolutions for the new year with great intentions for a new healthier you by this time next year. So what if the coming months do not bring you the health you desired? The possibilities for minor and major health changes are very real. Or, when you are successful in your renewed health transformation your physician takes you off some medications yet places you on another for maintenance or prevention. The changes may not seem important to us but they are. Your mouth is a very important part of your overall health and greatly affected by what goes in and what comes out.

Now we know most of you are very faithful in keeping up with your oral home care and coming in to see us every 4 or 6 months. We love getting to know you, your families, your likes and dislikes. We become, or at least strive to become, very comfortable in our Dentist/Hygienist/Patient relationship. So you wonder…why on earth do I have to update my health history all the time when we know each other so well?

First misconception; you don’t update your health history every time you come into our office . If it has been a year or more since your last visit or it has been 1 year since you last filled out the form with your health history and insurance information, we ask you to update your records. Dental professionals are compelled by law to produce and maintain adequate patient records. The Virginia Department of Health Professionals also mandates this policy.

Second; we do need to know about medication changes, recent surgeries, new knees or hips, and major illness. Some medications require a change in the type of anesthesia given. Dr. Anderson also does not want over the counter medication to react negatively with a medication he may need to prescribe for you. The daily use of a small 81mg of aspirin can cause bleeding during your treatment with the hygienist. We want to make sure that is the reason, not gingivitis and active periodontal disease.

We do need to know about your medications because many will affect your oral health and encourage cavites. Our goal is to keep you healthy. If we know the reason for changes in your mouth we can individualize your dental care.

Some surgeries require a waiting period of 6-8 weeks before you can have dental care of any kind. Joint replacements require an antibiotic 1 hour prior to your dental care in our office. Some people need special home care instructions for this same health change if they have severe gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Bringing a list of your current medications is a great way to minimize the paperwork for both of us. In fact, you should keep in your wallet or purse a current list (with a date) of your medications, vitamins and aspirin use (including what dosage you take (ie: 81mg, 325mg.). If you were in an accident and couldn’t tell the responders what you take they have no basis to begin proper treatment to help you.

Thirdly, we do not get information from your insurance company about individual changes, nor are we informed you no longer have your primary dental coverage and now will only use your secondary coverage. We are more than happy to verify your insurance and submit it for you.

One last misconception: believe it or not, when you dropped your phone land line and decided to use your cell phone only we didn’t get the message from the phone company and are unable to reach you to confirm your appointments.


OK. Enough excuses from us. But here is the good news. We are working on a new Health History update that should be less painful for all of you, minimal information to update, less paper in the landfills. So the next time Kristen or Peggy greets you with a warm welcome and hands you the new shorter heath history form we hope you will be less inclined to growl at them.

Once again, Happy New Year, Happy Oral Health, Be happy filling out your updated Health History form.