I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “Just put me to sleep, doc.” Patients are understandably anxious about having oral surgery performed. However, the old days of feeling “everything” or suffering through long, difficult procedures are gone.
It was actually a dentist who first “discovered” modern day anesthesia. Giving some medication either through inhaled gas or through an IV can make the long, difficult procedure almost as easy as the proverbial walk in the park. As the patient sleeps, their work gets done. Just yesterday, we had an extremely nervous patient come in who had over 20 procedures performed in her mouth over the years.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend an Anesthesia Review conference in Memphis, Tennessee. Even though I’ve performed over 5,000 IV sedation cases, it never hurts to review and keep on top of the latest developments. This weekend was no exception.
One of the latest developments is the requirement of monitoring a patients end-tidal CO2. This allows the doctor to pick up at the earliest sign of problems. Our machines have CO2 monitors built in, so all of our patients have this additional safety monitor during each of their procedures.
Going to sleep for an oral surgery procedure should be a safe and comfortable experience. With the right knowledge, training and experience of the surgeon, it certainly can be.