Advice for nervous patients who need a dentist.
8th September 2020
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Have you been avoiding going to the dentist because you know it’ll hurt more than you can stand? Are you a patient with a high level of anxiety? Many people avoid regular dental care, and need help to access the treatments they need. Yet without treatment, the problem gets worse which means essential dental procedures become even more challenging.
SpaDental Chard, Glastonbury, Plymouth and Tewkesbury can help. IV sedation dentistry is now available as a private service.
Earlier this week, dental surgeon Lucy Smith, practice manager and dental nurse Louise Burgess, and dental nurse Maria Shrigley completed an ILS course (intermediate life support) here at the practice in Plymouth. While all our staff have regular training in BLS (basic life support), this course is essential for the safe chairside support of IV sedation patients.
Our sedation trained dentist Lucy explains:
“With a background as a paramedic, our trainer Stuart regularly travels to dental practices, and also gives this training in hospital settings. He was very good and the training was very interactive. Because of his paramedic experience he was able to give us lots of examples, and first hand information.
Sedation dentists and nurses must have ILS training. The aim of ILS is for the team to be in a position to recognise and prevent medical emergencies before they happen.“
Patients with a high level of anxiety who need challenging dental work done can benefit from sedation. The use of anaesthetics, however, is never without risk so dentists prefer to use sedation as a last resort. Lucy believes that she can achieve most dental procedures with a considerate, thoughtful approach, and gently administered local anaesthetic. That said, it’s good to know that the option of IV sedation is available.
In sedation dentistry, sedatives are used to depress the central nervous system, reducing conscious awareness. It is a serious procedure, and dental professionals working with IV sedation require additional training.
Lucy explains the need for monitoring a patient’s vital signs during sedation:
“We constantly monitor blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood oxygen saturation. These ‘vital signs’ and numbers allow us to understand what is happening to the patient early, and prevent problems. They also help us know when to reverse the sedation drug. The greatest risks associated with sedation are hypotension (dangerously low blood pressure) and hypoxia (lack of oxygen perfusion to the tissues). The team needs to keep an eye on the numbers to prevent complications and treat any problems. The role of the nurse is to constantly monitor vital signs, recording them every 5-10 minutes and informing the dentist if any changes occur.”
First of all, make a dental appointment, and talk to your dentist. Your dentist will assess your oral health and can help you decide how to proceed.
Our SpaDental practices in Chard (Somerset), Glastonbury (Somerset), Plymouth (Devon), and Tewkesbury (Gloucestershire) offer IV sedation as a service to patients. It is, however, a private treatment so it’s necessary to pay for both the treatment and the sedation service.
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