In November of 2017 the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology redefined high blood pressure. Prior to the change, a term called “pre-hypertension” existed, where the systolic reading was 130-139 and the diastolic reading was from 80-89. The systolic measurement is the pressure on vessels as the heart contracts and pushes blood through the system, while the diastolic measures the pressure of vessels at rest.
Because of this change, 14% of US adults who thought their blood pressure was acceptable would now officially be diagnosed as having high blood pressure. Nothing changed about their medical status, yet doctors will likely follow different protocol in managing their blood pressure because of a change in the way that care is provided.
There is something about dentistry that we can learn from that, and that is that we should always be learning. Holding fast to the standards of yesterday can lead to substandard care. Occasionally I will hear patients introduced to new standards of care who are skeptical because they are stuck on the standards of yesterday. All dentists have an obligation to constantly review evolving methods of care and adopt those that are proven to be superior, even if the change for them is uncomfortable.