One of the most exciting developments we’ve enjoyed here in our office is the use of NuCalm, drug-free sedation dentistry. This relaxation technique allows people with dental anxiety, strong gag reflex, difficulty getting numb, and other problems to get relaxed in the dental chair without the use of drugs, which is good for anyone who wants to avoid the use of drugs related to their dental appointment, but is especially good for people who may be at risk of complications related to sedation drugs.
Sleep Apnea and Sedation
As a recent editorial in the journal Anesthesia Progress reminds us, there are many people who are at an increased risk from sedation dentistry. Among them are people who suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a life-threatening condition in which people’s breathing stops during sleep, and, unfortunately, perhaps 80% or more of sufferers have yet to be diagnosed.
Among the risks of sleep apnea is the risk of anesthesia and sedation complications. To check whether you might have sleep apnea, you can use the quick 8-point STOP-BANG quiz:
- Snore: Do you snore? the louder, the greater the risk.
- Tired: Do you suffer from excessive daytime tiredness or fatigue?
- Observed: Has anyone told you that you stop breathing during sleep?
- Pressure: Do you have elevated blood pressure?
- BMI: Are you obese?
- Age: Are you older than 50?
- Neck: Is your neck circumference greater than 16 inches?
- Gender: Are you male?
If you answered “yes” to three or more of the above questions, you might have sleep apnea and may reduce your risk using NuCalm.
Other Risk Factors
There are also other reasons why you might be at elevated risk from sedation drugs. These include, but are not limited to:
- Allergy to sedation drugs
- A small person who has had trouble with sedation drug dosing in the past
- You are especially susceptible to sedation drugs
- You are taking other drugs that may interact with sedation drugs
- You are medically compromised or elderly
If you are concerned about the potential impact of sedation drugs on your system, it’s best to try a drug-free sedation method to see if it can help you remain calm during your dental appointment without risk.
We want to stress again that for most people sedation dentistry is a safe, effective option for reducing anxiety, but for some people it’s good to have another option.
To learn more about NuCalm or any of the other patient comforts we offer, please call (843) 706-2999 for an appointment at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry in the Hilton Head area.