CAPNOGRAPHY ADDS SAFETY TO MODERATE SEDATION DENTISTRY
Capnography allows us to see a graph of the patient’s inspiration as they breathe. This is one of the best additions to in office sedation dentistry that I have ever used. When going from minimal to moderate sedation patients can get so relaxed that their breathing depth and pace slows down. Slowing down is good in sedation but only up to a certain point. The device that measures oxygen levels in the blood has a delayed reaction to the way the sedated patient is breathing, and it takes a while before the oxygen levels have decreased enough on the equipment register to alert the doctor.
A device inside the cannula used for oxygen supplementation also measures levels of carbon dioxide in the expired air. By keeping track of the patient’s carbon dioxide levels sedation dentists can get a pretty good idea of the patient’s respiratory drive and your ability to maintain it. Carbon dioxide tells the brain that you need to breathe even when your oxygen levels are high. When your level of carbon dioxide falls and you are already on oxygen supplementation, lowering oxygen allows you to build up carbon dioxide and stimulates the respiratory drive.
Another great device used in sedation dentistry is an EKG that can be attached to the wrists instead of the chest and give us a good idea of your basic rhythms during a long moderate sedation session. EKG, blood oxygen level, Blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, pulse rate, carbon dioxide levels, and capnography are parameters that quickly alert us to the level of sedation as well as stimulation and provide us with early warning of an impending medical emergency.
Another safety measure for sedation dentistry is the reversal agent. Reversing the sedative agent could be one of the first measures when we need to terminate a procedure. The ability to access a vein with an IV or into the bone is an added plus for the patient when doing moderate sedation.
One of the best safety measures in sedation dentistry is the accuracy of the patient’s medical history. Accurate history includes past use of drugs including illicit drugs, operations, medications, history of illnesses, and recent medical check ups. Sedation dentistry involves a whole team, and the team consists of not only the people giving care but the patient and their full involvement with their treatment. Undiagnosed or untold medical conditions are one of the greatest hindrances to proper treatment of a patient undergoing sedation dentistry. Do not keep parts of your medical history a secret from your sedation dentist!
Give us a call at 336-841-0000 for more information about sedation dentistry.