Delivering Sedation in Dentistry

It has become increasing popular to deliver sedation to patients receiving dental work. Sedation is defined as the deliberate drug-induced depression of consciousness used to reduce anxiety and awareness associated with unpleasant medical procedures. Sedation is used to reduce anxiety.  In some cases dentists or oral surgeons deliver both the dental work and the sedation, while in others there is a separate anesthesiologist to do so. One should always verify proper training and license prior to undertaking any sedation from a healthcare professional. Sedation is generally considered very safe as long as it is performed by an appropriately trained practitioner in a monitored environment. Sedation dentistry uses different approaches depending on personal choice and comfort. In the order of increasing anesthesia these are local anesthesia, minimal sedation, nitrous oxide/oxygen, moderate (conscious) sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia. A more thorough discussion … Read more

Dentists Should be Prepared to Refer to a Counselor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist

In recent years more and more dentists have had to deal with patients with substance use disorders. Wisdom teeth extractions are sometimes said to be a potential cause of a later substance use disorder, see for example http://blog.teethremoval.com/painkiller-overdose-in-michigan-are-wisdom-teeth-extractions-contributing/. Even though dentists and oral surgeons have taken steps in recent years to reduce the amount of drugs they prescribe to their patients that would possibly be used for non-medical purposes this may not entirely solve the problem. If through the course of a patient evaluation, a dentist becomes aware of a possible drug or alcohol problem, they should be prepared to refer their patient to a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. As such they should have several possibilities available for the referral. The American Dental Association (ADA) had a webinar series several years ago titled “Interviewing and Counseling of patients with substance use … Read more

Will Dental School Debt Lead to Future Counseling?

Future dentists these days are being subjected to large amount of loans that are necessary as a part of dental school. This topic has been covered a bit before on this site, see for example http://blog.teethremoval.com/medical-school-student-costs-in-the-u-s-are-affecting-mental-health/ and http://blog.teethremoval.com/medical-students-are-at-risk-for-suicide/. This topic has also been recently discussed on the American Dental Association (ADA) Viewpoint and Letters to the Editor. In an April 18, 2016, letter titled “Dental student loan debt” Dr. Sparkman from Texas said If most dental students today are borrowing over $200,000 to get out of dental school then I have part of the solution in three words. Get a job. Dr. LeMert a 2009 dental school graduate from the state of Washington took issue with this position and found Dr. Sparkman’s position laughable.  He said in a May 16, 2016 letter titled “Dental school reality” Dental school itself was a 60 hour/week … Read more

Reducing mental distress in patients undergoing dental procedures including hypnosis, relaxation, and counseling

An interesting article titled “Non-pharmacological interventions for reducing mental distress in patients undergoing dental procedures: Systematic review and meta-analysis” by Sophia Burghardt  et al., appears in the Journal of Dentistry in 2018 (vol. 68, pp. 22 – 31). The article seeks to determine the effects of hypnosis, enhanced information, relaxation, music, or cognitive-behavioral approaches on adults undergoing dental procedures. The researchers explored 29 randomized controlled trials and found through random effects meta-analyses significant reduction of mental distress when patients underwent a non-pharmacological intervention. In particular the largest effect was shown for hypnosis. People experience anxiety and fear of going to a dentist and some even have a diagnosable condition of dental phobia. Research shows a general dentist is capable of treating adults with mild or moderate forms of dental anxiety but those with severe dental anxiety or even dental phobia often requires … Read more

Your Dentist Can Help Protect You From Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition affecting up to 100 million Americans, making it one of the biggest health concerns facing the U.S.. While it can be managed with a change in diet and prescription medication, there is also a role for your dental practitioner. They will be able to tell from examining your mouth whether you are at risk and can perform procedures to stabilize blood sugar levels. Poor dental health can tell you so much more about your health than just the condition of your teeth and has been linked not just to physical conditions but also to poor mental health. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist if they see any other health concerns during a dental checkup, particularly having to do with diabetes. The Link Between Diabetes and Dental Diseases Even if a doctor hasn’t diagnosed you with diabetes, you … Read more