Impaired in the Chair? Cannabis Use and Dental Hygiene Appointments

With the recent legalization of cannabis in Canada, it's important to be aware that Cannabis use can have implications for both your oral health and dental hygiene treatments. The following provides some important points to consider.

Cannabis use has many side effects that vary based on the person and potency. These can have implications for both oral health and professional dental hygiene care. In some cases, dental hygiene appointments may need to be rescheduled to minimize risk. Consider the following side effects:

  • Fast heart rate and anxiety Cannabis increases the heart rate and heightens anxiety. These side effects may worsen or last longer with anesthetics used for dental hygiene treatment.
  • Interaction with medications Cannabis may increase bleeding and complicate dental hygiene care. Healing may also be affected.
  • Confusion and lack of focus Cannabis use before a dental hygiene appointment may impair judgement and the capacity to provide consent to treatment.
  • Dry mouth and the munchies Cannabis reduces saliva, leading to dry mouth. It also stimulates food cravings, which increase the amount of time your teeth are exposed to sugars. As a result, cannabis users have a higher risk of cavities, gum disease, and oral infections.

Have a conversation! Cannabis use is an important part of the health record review.