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Why Dentist Wear Stethoscope – Ask A Dentist In Spring Texas

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Why Dentist Wear Stethoscope – Ask A Dentist In Spring Texas

A stethoscope has become indispensable equipment and a symbol for healthcare providers. It is not uncommon to see your dentist having one hanging on his shoulders. Stethoscopes are used to monitor a patient’s physical condition. There are 5 types of stethoscopes including acoustic, electronic, fetal, noise reduction and recordable.

The recoding stethoscope functions like the normal stethoscope but has an additional recording feature. Fetal stethoscopes are also known as fetoscopes and are used to listen to the heartbeat of a fetus in pregnant women. Noise reduction stethoscopes also referred to as noise cancellation stethoscopes are used by doctors in extreme loud conditions to hear the body sounds clear.

Acoustic stethoscopes are the most commonly used stethoscopes and are available in different colors they are made of:

  • Ear tips
  • Binaural which is the curve piece that connects the tubing to the ear tip
  • Tubing
  • The chest or headpiece which is usually a combination of a diaphragm and a bell

Electronic stethoscopes are also common and are battery operated. They have a warning system that lets the doctor know when the power is almost up. Some can show the battery status, volume level or heart rate using a digital display. Others have ports that allow doctors to connect them to computers or other devices that can allow more than one person to listen to a patient’s vital signs. These help to compare the vitals to future results or to use them for teaching.

So, you might ask why dentists wear stethoscopes. Here at the dentist in spring Texas, we wear a stethoscope for the following reasons:

A stethoscope is a tool that is used for recognition of a health care provider. A dentist is also a health care provider so one might not even notice the stethoscope. The image of the stethoscope fits a healthcare provider’s image as somebody we can trust.

More importantly, our dentists wear a stethoscope for the following reasons.

Check Blood Pressure

A stethoscope is required to take the blood pressure of the patient. It is used together with a sphygmomanometer. Blood pressure is the indication of the flow of a patient’s blood in the body during the heartbeat and in the rest period. The readings on the stethoscope can be affected by age or the condition of the body. Other factors that can affect the blood pressure include time of day, stress, consumption of caffeine, nicotine or alcohol. In case the systolic pressure is higher than 120 or the diastolic pressure is over 80, the dentist might take another measure of the blood pressure, but if the figure shows a rise in blood pressure, it is time to see a doctor and find out why.

Body Temperature

In case the patient has an infected tooth or shows signs of being extremely tired, hot, flushed or unresponsive, the dentist may take the temperature of the patient. The reading can help with the diagnosis of the probable condition or help the dentist in deciding on what to do.

Inspecting The Heart

The heart sound of the patient can be medium or high pitched so for dentists to study the heart, they have to use the diaphragm of the stethoscope. The diaphragm is placed on the patient’s left upper chest where the 4th and the 6th rib meet. This is found directly under the breast. The chest piece is held under the index and middle finger. The dentist will gently apply pressure and ask the patient to breathe normally. The dentist will listen to the heart for a full minute or more.

Counting The Heartbeats

The normal heart rate for a resting person can be between 60 and 100 heartbeats per minute (HPM). In case of an athlete, they might have a bigger heart, and the heart pumps less per minute. An athlete heartbeat will range between 40 to 60 beats per minute. Children might have a faster heart rate depending on their age. The HPM may range between 7 to 10 heartbeats per minute for children between 2 and 9 years.

In case the heart rate is elevated from normal, it might be a sign of an underlying condition, or maybe the patient is nervous. However, some pointers of a heart problem include another sound other than the normal heart sounds such as a murmur, brut or a ventricular gallop. In such cases, the dentist will advise the patient to see their primary care provider or seek further medical attention.

Inspecting The Lungs

The dentist will ask you to sit up straight and breathe normally. Just like when checking the heart, the dentist will use the diaphragm to check the lungs. He will listen to the upper and lower lobes and inspect the back and the front. The goal of this process is to compare both sides of the lungs and note if there is an abnormality. Abnormal breathing sounds might include a wheeze that is common in people with asthma. Stridor sounds are caused by the blockage at the back of the throat. The dentist might also detect rhonchi sounds that sound like snoring and are caused by blocked air paths in the lungs. He might also detect rales sounds that sound like rattling or popping bubble wrap. In case the dentist detects these sounds he might refer the patient first to a primary care provider or another doctor for further checkup.

At Vita Dental Spring, we will take all your vital signs to establish your health record and safeguard your health before any dental procedure.

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