There have been a number of studies that link gum disease to heart disease, which just goes to show how important healthy teeth and gums can be when it comes to your overall health. But what you might not know is how the treatment you may have already received for heart disease can affect your ongoing dental needs. How does a pacemaker play a role in the way you receive dental care?

Receiving General Dental Care

Fortunately, the presence of a pacemaker will not affect your ability to safely receive most general dentistry services. A cavity can easily be filled, and your teeth can be scaled and polished. Some ultrasonic dental tools can potentially interact with your pacemaker, although this is unlikely. That being said, your dentist may err on the side of caution and restrict their use of ultrasonic tools in your treatment. Diagnostic testing required in dentistry (such as x-rays, radiography, and ultrasounds) will not affect your pacemaker.

Your Need for Sedation and Anaesthesia

More intensive dental treatments may affect your pacemaker, such as oral surgery to place a dental implant, or in fact, any procedure that might require sedation. This isn't to say that your pacemaker cannot be accommodated, or that you will have to undergo intensive dental treatment without sedation or anaesthesia. However, it's crucial that your dentist is aware of the fact that you have a pacemaker, regardless of the type of dental care you may need. When your pacemaker adds a level of complexity to any upcoming dental procedure, your dentist may wish to consult your doctor as part of your treatment plan. 

Magnets and Electrical Impulses

As a general rule of thumb in your treatment plan, a pacemaker might be affected by medical and dental treatments involving the use of magnets or electrical impulses directed into your tissues. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is not a traditional diagnostic tool in dentistry, so this is unlikely to be an issue. However, some dental procedures can make use of electrocautery and electrosurgery, which can be inappropriate for patients with a pacemaker. Any complications will be easily avoided by telling your dentist that you have been fitted with a pacemaker, and it cannot be stressed enough just how important it is that your dentist is well-informed. 

A pacemaker won't prevent you from receiving the highest standard of dental care. However, your pacemaker can affect the way in which this dental care is provided.