Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition that causes an exaggerated increase in heart rate with standing. When the brain gets too little of a blood flow those diagnosed with the condition can become lightheaded and when this becomes severe ones vision can become blurred, bringing on nausea and vomiting. Some people are even known to have fainting spells. Many also experience fatigue either doing moderate physical exercise or even just sitting at a desk all day long.

When it comes to dental treatment and one who has been diagnosed with POTS there are some very important precautions and recommendations to consider. First of all, let your dental care provider know about your condition and any medications that you may be taking. This syndrome is not well known in the dental community, therefore take information with you to your appointment so your dentist can have a better understanding of your condition. It may be even a better idea to have your dentist consult with your medical doctor prior to any dental treatment because everyone diagnosed with this syndrome may require a little bit different dental protocol.

Recommendations for the dental patient with POTS:

  • Always make sure your dental care provider checks your blood pressure and heart rate. Many times anesthetic with epinephrine is avoided because it can increase the heart rate.
  • About half of those diagnosed with POTS develop mitral valve prolapse which is a condition that causes the valve between your two left chambers of the heart to not work properly. Have your dentist consult with your medical doctor to see if valvular incompetency is present, and if so antibiotics will be necessary before any dental work to prevent endocarditis which is life threatening.
  • If you have been sitting in the waiting room for awhile have someone assist you in standing upright before heading back to the dental operatory, as well as after dental treatment because prolonged sitting can trigger POTS. Always make sure when your dental care provider lays you back in the chair and sits you back up that they do it slowly.
  • Bring sunglasses with you because those diagnosed with POTS experience photo sensitivity and the bright light used to see in the mouth may be bothersome.
  • Fatigue is often associated with POTS so its recommended that you make your appointments in the morning, keep them short, and eat a very small breakfast. Also fatigue can generate poor hygiene habits so your better off getting your teeth cleaned every three to four months instead of at six month intervals.
  • Xerostomia which is also known as dry mouth is very common with POTS and is a common factor for tooth decay, candidiasis (yeast infection in the mouth), and burning mouth syndrome. Ask your dental health care provider about special fluorides, mouthwashes, and gels to use to help in the prevention of oral manifestations.

We recommend you ask your medical doctor about precautionary measures that should be taken during dental procedures as well as keeping your dental health care provider up to date on any changes that are occurring with POTS or other general health issues.

This post is provided on behalf of nationally-recognized Phoenix cosmetic dentist Dr. Arthur Chal, www.chaldentistry.com

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