You know those long, drawn-out questionnaires that you fill out when you are a new patient at a dental office? They seem to ask a lot of questions that aren't related at all to dental care, don't they? While it may feel a bit intrusive, there are several reasons your dentist needs to know your medical history before he or she can provide you with dental care, especially when it comes to the use of sedation. Sometimes, a patient's medical history can make a difference in whether or not they can receive sedation and/or what type of sedation can be given.
For intensive dental treatments and surgeries, a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen may be recommended for sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide is laughing gas. But, depending on your medical history, you may need a different type of sedative, such as oral or intravenous. Here are a few examples of what your dentist may look for in your questionnaire.
Medical Conditions That May Need Full Sedation
Regardless of what type of sedation you will have, there are several medical conditions that may require full sedation for safety reasons, as well as for your comfort.
- Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that causes extreme pain in the face, particularly along the cheek bone and jaw. People with this condition should receive full sedation before any treatment or examination by a dentist.
- Someone with a neurological disease, such as Parkinson's or epilepsy, may need full sedation due to the involuntary movements that could cause problems for the dentist when he or she is trying to work on the patient.
- Autism presents several challenges, especially in children. Full sedation may be necessary due to the inability autistic individuals often have to cooperate when they feel overwhelmed.
Medical Conditions That Should Not Be Given Laughing Gas
Now that you are briefly familiar with several of the medical conditions that benefit from full sedation at the dental office, it's important to understand the various conditions in which laughing gas is a no-no. Alternative sedative medication may need to be given to those who have the following conditions.
- Angina and congestive heart failure may worsen when there is not enough oxygen in the blood. Even though oxygen is given in combination to nitrous oxide, it is too dangerous for those who have heart problems.
- Sinusitis, a deviated septum or other nasal obstruction will make it difficult for the gas and oxygen to be inhaled and exhaled properly.
- Patients with lung conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, should not be given laughing gas due to the inability their lungs may have to properly assimilate oxygen.
If you have a medical condition, your dentist may want to speak with your physician before moving forward with your dental treatment. You will need to sign a medical release form.
Medication Restrictions Due To Contraindication
Bleomycin sulfate is a drug used during cancer treatment. It is a contraindication to nitrous oxide. In medical terminology, this means that the two cannot be combined. If you are set on having nitrous oxide and oxygen for your sedative medication, you may need to wait until you are done with your cancer treatment.
Psychotropic drugs are also contraindications for the use of nitrous oxide. These drugs are given to treat schizophrenia, bipolar and other mental health disorders. The combination could exacerbate the mental health condition, and could lead to an unsafe situation in the dental office.
These are just several of the things that dentists look for in your medical history. As you can see, it is extremely important to fill out the questionnaire completely so your dentist can determine what type of sedative medication would be best for your treatment.