Why Do We Take Blood Pressure at the dentist?

Why Do We Take Blood Pressure at the dentist?

The last 20 years have brought many changes to the dental field. Some of these changes are technological, changes in the materials used, changes within infection control and some are with the collection of patient information. One major change is blood pressure. 

It is now recommended to take blood pressure before dental appointments. We always get asked why? 

 The reasoning is:

  • Individuals often have dental scalings/appointments at least 1-2x/year. This gives the dental staff an ability to refer to an MD if blood pressure is not within normal limits.
  • If blood pressure is excessively high a medical emergency can be prevented both in office and outside the office.
  • If an individual’s blood pressure is over a certain threshold than the dental appointment may have to be rescheduled until the patient has seen their doctor to discuss treatment options. 
  • Sometimes a different local anaesthetic will be used depending on readings 

Problems we face: 

  • Sometimes blood pressure can be unusually high in the dental office because of dental fear and anxiety/white coat syndrome. 
  • Often busy people are rushing into the dental office for their appointments which can lead to higher blood pressure. 
  • If you have just had a coffee or been stuck in traffic or just exercised, than blood pressure can be much higher. 
  • We are still required to take appropriate measures. If we need to reschedule your appointment due to high blood pressure we are doing it in your best interest. 

What you can do?

  • Book an annual physical with your MD where they will check blood pressure readings
  • Take blood pressure at the free machines in Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall and Walmart. Taking Blood pressure regularly will give you an understanding of what your average readings are


Lawson, Linda. 10 Reasons Why We Must Take Dental Patients’ Blood Pressure. <https://www.rdhmag.com/patient-care/article/16409903/10-reasons-why-we-must-take-dental-patients-blood-pressure> RDH Magazine. Jan, 2017. Accessed October 14th, 2019.