Dental Health with Adrenal Insufficiency

Dental Health with Adrenal Insufficiency

Dental care is a standard part of taking care of your body and should be practiced every single day with trips to the dentist for cleanings twice a year. Patients with adrenal diseases need to alert their dentist of their condition and always carry an emergency injection to your dental appointments just in case.

Patients will also need to updose their cortisol for dental procedures.  Additionally, stress and anxiety may require an adrenal insufficient patient to updose as well. If dental procedures or cleanings cause anxiety, you may need to updose before your appointment. If you know a visit to the dentist causes increased anxiety or will be painful, it is recommended you updose your cortisol. Talk to your doctor about suggestions on updosing. Remember, too little cortisol in one day is fatal, too much is not.

One of our foundation board members, Hannah Jessup is a licensed dental hygienist.  

Hannah Jessup has a degree in science and is also a licensed dental assistant and licensed dental hygienist. As a sufferer of chronic illness with rheumatoid arthritis, Hannah desires to help people realize that they can still achieve their dreams even if it takes longer than the average person.

She had to stall her schooling to get her RA under control and realized that everyone is at their own pace in life. Hannah’s passion for helping people fuels her desire to join this foundation. She educates the dental community on adrenal insufficiency and is an avid advocate.

Below is an interview with Hannah that answers some of the questions regarding dental care for adrenal patients.

Q- What is your name?

A- Hannah Jessup

Q- What is your affiliation with Adrenal Alternatives Foundation?

A- I am a board member.

Q- Tell us about your professional career?

A- I am a dental hygienist, meaning I take dental radiographs, help with educating people on their oral health, do oral cancer screenings, and do everything in my power to get your mouth in a clean and healthy state

Q- How has the pandemic impacted your industry?

A- It really hasn’t impacted the dental field much, we were already sterilizing everything that could be sterilized and disinfecting anything that couldn’t be placed in sterilization. The dental staff has had very little change due to the Corona-19 pandemic, our patients had to deal with minor changes, such as; wearing a mask in and out of the building, waiting in their vehicles and calling us to let us know that they were here (to keep people from crowding the lobby), and getting their temperatures checked before they entered the building. At this point, we have almost lifted all of our covid restrictions, as pertaining to our patients.

Q-  How often should adrenal patients go for teeth cleaning?

A- Most people should get a dental cleaning every six months, although we may recommend more frequent visits for certain patients. Those with; periodontal disease (a condition in which the patient is losing the bone in their mouth or lost bone support in the mouth), on certain medications that negatively affect their oral health condition, or those who can not physically or mentally take care of their dental hygiene at home will require more visits than the average patient to ensure their dental health is maintained.

Q- What is one piece of advice you wish you could tell each of your patients?

A- Just brush and floss the teeth, that you want to keep.

Q- How is the dental community’s awareness on adrenal disease?

A- I feel that most dental practitioners are aware of adrenal conditions, I certainly wouldn’t say that we were experts in the subject, but we are trained on different adrenal related conditions, what to keep an eye out for with these patients, and how to respond if their conditions worsen while they are in our office.

Q-  In the event of an adrenal crisis in the dentist chair, how would you react?

A- I would first never leave my patient’s side while they were in crisis, and call out to my neighbor in the next room over or to a coworker in the hallway to grab one of the doctors, aka dentists, then I would prepare the patients hydrocortisone for injection (which we would have asked the patient to bring with them in case of such a emergency), after my coworker informed the dentist of the medical emergency, they would then go to the front desk and inform them to call 911, the dentist would have come to my room immediately after being informed, if the patient is able to inject themselves with the hydrocortisone then we will let them do it, if not the dentist will inject it for the patient, once the dentist arrives I would start monitoring their vitals while the coworker who I originally called out to for help, would be bringing in the oxygen tank to my room (after informing the front to call 911), I would be administering oxygen and recording vitals until paramedics arrived, and after the front office called 911, they would then call the patients emergency contact to inform them of what was happening.

Q- Is there a quote or mantra that helps or encourages you that you’d like to share?

A- Strive to be a better version of you

Q- What resources would you suggest to someone who wants to know more about good oral hygiene?

A- Crest and Colgate both have a lot of online educational resources, but your best oral hygiene educational resource is your dental hygienist, we are trained oral hygiene educators, so ask us anything.

Q- What is the number one thing you want the world to know about taking care of their teeth?

A- Just brush twice a day for two minutes each time and floss your teeth daily, if you do that you usually get to keep them, its really that easy!

This information has been brought to you by the Adrenal Alternatives Foundation and is not to be used to provide medical care or legal advice.

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