Invasive dentistry can risk heart, claims study
 

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Invasive dentistry can risk heart, claims study

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Invasive dentistry can risk heart, claims study

 

Invasive dentistry can risk heart, claims study

Invasive dental procedures designed to treat gum inflammation may raise the risk for heart attack and stroke, a new study claims.
 
But the increase appears to be slight and short-term, the study team suggested.
 
Study co-author Liam Smeeth, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says: ‘I don't want to downplay this entirely, because we saw a genuine rise in cardiovascular risk in the period just after dental work was done among patients undergoing invasive treatment. But the overall risk is quite small and endures for only a very brief period.'
 
Professor Smeeth and his colleagues published their findings in the October 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
 
Previous research has linked common and chronic low-grade dental infections to inflammatory processes that elevate the risk for strokes and heart attacks, the authors pointed out.
 
But whether treatment for those infections raises a similar risk had not been explored, said the authors who set out to study the potential link between the two.
 
The team analysed US Medicaid records for nearly 1,200 patients who had undergone invasive dental treatments and had also experienced a stroke or a heart attack between 2002 and 2006.
 
The patients' median age was 67, and invasive dental procedures were characterised as those with the potential to cause an inflammatory response, such as periodontal therapy and tooth extractions.
 
Nearly three-quarters of the patients had undergone a single dental procedure, nearly all of them (89%) tooth extractions.
 
About one-quarter had had two to four dental treatments, with 57 days, on average, between each procedure.
 
About 4% of the patients died during hospitalisation.
 
Even after taking into consideration a history of diabetes, high blood pressure and/or coronary heart disease, the team observed a significant but slight increase in heart-related events during the month following a dental treatment, primarily because of an apparent short-term rise in heart attack risk.

Stroke risk appeared to rise less significantly than heart attack risk.
 
However, no patient suffered a cardiovascular event on the day of treatment, and the apparent increased risk for heart problems dissipated within six months, the researchers noted.
 
Such transient cardiovascular concerns are generally minimal, do not outweigh the long-term cardiovascular benefits of invasive dental treatment, and should not deter patients from getting the dental care they need, the authors concluded.

In an editorial in the same journal, Dr Howard Weitz, of the Jefferson Heart Institute, and Dr Geno Merli of the Jefferson Vascular Center, both in Philadelphia, noted it is too early to say that routine dental care should be altered in any way based on the current findings.

 Posted on : Wed 20th - Oct - 2010

 

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