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Taking Dental Medications

Your dentist may prescribe medications to fight certain oral diseases or to prevent infections after surgical procedures such as tooth extractions and gum surgery. Sometimes certain drugs are given prior to the dental procedure to help fight infections or to control existing medical conditions such as heart murmurs and valve problems. Your dentist will discuss any medications you may need to take, when to take them, and why you need to take them.

Questions to Ask Your Dentist About Your Medication

  • What is the name of the medication?
  • Why do I need to take it?
  • How often should I take it?
  • What time of day should I take it?
  • Should I take it on an empty stomach or with meals?
  • Where should I store the medication?
  • What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
  • How long should I expect to take the medication?
  • How will I know it is working?
  • What common side effects should I expect?
  • Are there any rare, but serious side effects to watch for?
  • Will the medication interfere with driving, working or other activities?
  • Does the medication interact with any foods, alcohol or other beverages, or other medications, vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter products, herbal products, or eye drops?

Review the drug information sheet that comes with each prescription. Write down any side effects you experience and call your dentist to discuss them. Update and review your history every time you see your dentist.

Facts to Tell Your Dentist About Yourself

  • If you are taking any other medications, supplements, vitamins, herbal products, over-the-counter products, eye drops, or prescription skin lotions
  • If you are allergic to any medications
  • If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant
  • If you have problems taking any medications
  • If you have any health-related problems or medical conditions, especially any serious conditions that affect your body's major organs -- the kidneys, lungs, heart, or liver

Safety Guidelines for Taking Medications in General

  • Keep an updated list of all your medications and their dosages with you.
  • Take your medications exactly as prescribed.
  • Do not stop taking your medications unless you talk to your dentist first. Stopping your medication too early can cause the illness to return or make it more difficult to treat.
  • Do not double the dose of your medication.
  • If you miss a dose of your medication at the scheduled time, don't panic. Take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your regular medication schedule.
  • Do not keep outdated medication or medication that is no longer needed. Throw old drugs away.
  • Store medications in a dry area away from moisture (unless your dentist or pharmacist tells you the medicine needs to be refrigerated).
  • Always keep medications out of the reach of children.
  • Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any unusual side effects after taking your medication.
  • Do not share your medications with others.
  • If you store your medications in a container, label it with the drug name, dose, frequency and expiration date.
  • Anticipate when your medications will be running out and have your prescriptions renewed as necessary.
  • Use one pharmacy if possible.
  • Keep your medications in your carry-on luggage when you travel. Do not pack your medications in a suitcase that is checked, in case the suitcase is lost.
  • Take extra medication with you when you travel in case your flight is delayed and you need to stay away longer than planned.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Elverne M Tonn, DDS on June 03, 2012

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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