Sedation Precautions

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Sedation Precautions

Parents claim sedation endangered son's well being. Tiger suffers heart trouble during dental procedure:

Sedation is always a risky procedure. If possible it's best to avoid sedation...all forms of sedation compound each other...nitrous oxide (laughing gas), valium (antianxiety meds), even antihistamines (allergy meds) and pain meds like Vicodin can all compound each other for deeper sedation. General anesthesia (putting a patient to sleep) of course presents the most risk.

It is understandable when patients ask to be put to sleep for dental procedures, in particular wisdom teeth removal. However, for the majority of patients it is an unnecessary risk. The local anesthetics we have today (that some of our parents/grandparents never had!) are highly effective and will suffice for the comfort of most patients.

As a dentist I am not against sedation. Personally, when I underwent surgery the antianxiety meds worked very well. I think nitrous oxide (for most children) works wonders. If used properly general anesthesia for children in need can literally be a life saver from the spread of dental infection, and my hats off to the general practitioners who complete the proper training and have the confidence to provide sedation dentistry. However, my humble opinion with sedation dentistry on patients who do not need it is that it's like driving your car with the gas near empty...sure you can make a good estimate that you will get where you need to and for most cars the gas light turns on with a gallon or two of gas, but there's always that chance that the fuel gauge is dysfunctional, the car is tilted giving you a wrong reading, your car burns more gas than you thought going up hills - the chance you will find yourself stuck in the middle of the road with no gas.