Dental appointment messing up my pacemaker settings

Had P/M implant Oct 23 2020. Had many adjustments until finally felt better. Read on a post from Pacemaker club that railing the heart rate would help to outpace an arrhythmines. It worked and I was feeling good until Imwent to my dentist for a routine cleaning! Full mouth X-rays were taken and I was assured there would be no problems. A day after appointmentI began  to have the same feelings I had  before rate was increased. Checked with my dr and nurse checked on the devise monitor. She said no changes in settings Anyone have similar problems? I am very discouraged! 


Dental work and pacemakers

by AgentX86 - 2021-07-06 15:58:38

It is highly unlikely that any dental work you had done affected your pacemaker in any way.  It is quite possible that your stress because of the dental work caused your symptoms.  Give yourself some time and it should straighten out. 

Older magnetostrictive ultrasonic cleaners *might* be an issue

by crustyg - 2021-07-06 16:40:29

It's difficult to imagine any dentist getting this wrong, but there is a theoretical issue with the old-style ultrasonic cleaners that work by a very-high frequency magnetic coil that produces movement in the cleaner - the mag field can affect PMs/ICDs  American Dental association proscribed these a long time ago for PM/ICD patients.

More modern piezo-electric cleaners are fine.

The issue only affects implanted devices during usage - it can't affect the actual PM/ICD settings, so within an hour or so of the dental cleaning, you should be fine, regardless of the tech used to clean your mouth.

Dental work with a pacemaker

by Jam - 2021-07-06 21:00:00

I read there could be magnets in the head part of the dental chair. I read magnets can affect the pacemakers. 

Magnets in dental chairs

by AgentX86 - 2021-07-06 22:21:21

It's possible that there are magnets in dental chairs but I'd have no idea why they would.  I guess I have seen bibs and such that fasten with magnets.  Even if so, at the worst case the pacemaker would be put into a diagnostic mode while you're sitting in the chair.  It might feel weird or you might have minor problems but since you're not moving, probably not.  This mode is intentionally added to pacemakers for test.  They may affect pacemakers yes, and it's not something you want to do but it's not dangerous.

Re: Ultrasonic cleaning. My dentist doesn't use one at all and scrapes manually. Maybe because they know I have a pacemaker?

What a headline message!

by Gemita - 2021-07-07 06:13:32

If I may say Jam, your headline message Dental appointment messing up my pacemaker settings is rather alarmist and points the finger of blame clearly on your appointment at the dentist.  Can you prove this beyond doubt?  Your statement may alarm members and put them off visiting their dentist for some protective cleaning or other urgent dental work.  It is well known that a mouth full of decay can also be a serious problem too and lead to health issues if any infection spreads systemically.    

As an arrhythmia sufferer, when I go to the dentist for cleaning or when I need other dental treatment, I usually experience palpitations afterwards due I believe to a variety of reasons - from the local anaesthesia used during dental fillings, extraction or root canal treatment, to perhaps the dental materials used during treatment or to any unwelcome swallowing of dental debris during cleaning - but who really knows why some of us develop worsening palpitations?  Are we perhaps sensitive to the materials used in dentistry or to the anaesthesia used, or are we anxious when in the dentist’s chair?  There are so many possibilities.

I attach an earlier PM Club thread and a link for further reading if you are interested, although I feel you have already concluded that your reversal of good fate is caused by a visit to the dentist.  We cannot always claim a connection with a chain of events.  Your worsening symptoms may be pure coincidence and could have happened even without a visit to the dentist.  That is the nature of arrhythmias, they are unpredictable and you are doing what many of us do, still searching for a reason, a cause.  This may not be helping your heart rhythm disturbances and may even be making them worse.  This might set up an ever increasing list of things to avoid in the future causing further anxiety.

Let us be positive.  You have potentially protected yourself from dental disease by visiting your dentist for a good clean and imaging. I see no harm in that.  My dentist will only use hand instruments for cleaning, to be safe, because I have a pacemaker.  I hope your palpitations will settle again without any intervention Jam and you can put your dental appointment firmly behind you.  

Specifically on your magnet suggestion, I presume if this were the case, your pacemaker by now would have gone back to normal functioning and in any event your clinic technicians found no problems with your settings


by Jam - 2021-07-07 08:38:46

I did not mean to suggest dental cleanings and X-rays should be avoided if you have a pacemaker.  Sorry! I just read some information saying it could be a concern. For me my regression back to the way I felt before I finally got the right adjustment made me think it was possible that something regard8ng the appt May have messed up the settings. I do believe dental cleaning and care are very important! 

OLD information

by Gotrhythm - 2021-07-07 21:41:26

Interesting. I had this conversation just last week during my semi annual cleaning. According to the hygeinist, some of the OLD pacemakers had some problems with the OLD cleaning equipment, but any pacemaker made since 2010 would not be affected.

When encountering warnings about dangers to your pacemaker, it's important evaluate how recent the information is. There's a lot of scary information still out there that may have been accurate at one time, but pacemakers have changed greatly over the years. There is very little in the way of appliances, even medical appliances, that represent a danger to us.

LIke the others, even though you noticed the change after the dental visit, I'd look to other possible causes first. And we always need to remember that our heart's condition isn't static. It can change and even settings that work great for a while still might eventually need to be altered..

NOthing change your settings.

by PacedNRunning - 2021-07-12 18:01:27

There is nothing that can change your settings except for the programmer. :). I go to the dentist and all is fine.  Maybe your having some anxiety about the dentist and your device and feeling more than usual?  

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I, too, am feeling tons better since my implant.