When did dentists start using sedation?
As one of the earliest certified providers of Raleigh sedation dental care (oral conscious sedation), I have patients from time to time who ask me when dentists first started using sedation. Would you believe that the answer to that question is during the 1840’s? Connecticut dentist Horace Wells introduced the use of nitrous oxide that long ago. And one of his students, William Morton, later demonstrated the use of ether as anesthesia. Many people are surprised to learn that those practicing dentistry were the ones who “brought along” the field of medicine in the use of anesthesia to control pain. Naturally, the dosages and associated risks were not well understood in those days.
Today, we know exponentially more about a whole spectrum of sedation techniques and forms of localized anesthesia. Dentists certified for providing sedation dental care today have many more options – and an exponentially greater wealth of knowledge of dosages and risk management – than Wells and Morton did in the 1800’s. We know what types of sedation and anesthesia work best in combination for various types of dental procedures. And we know that we’re not only managing pain, but also anxiety. In terms of what the patient experiences, it’s still not well understood just how tightly intertwined the two (pain and anxiety) really are.
Many people assume that anxiety is a purely psychological experience, while pain is the purely physiological experience. Not so! For example, anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals as well as psychological procedures for treating anxiety are often useful in the treatment of pain complaints. And it’s also been scientifically proven that patients who experience high levels of anxiety before undergoing surgical procedures actually have slower healing times. It’s not just about sparing people mental distress, it’s about helping them have a better outcome, too.
That’s another reason that taking advantage of sedation dental care is just good common sense. You don’t NEED to try to figure out whether it’s anxiety or pain management that you need. We know how to manage both effectively and safely. And we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about sedation dental care in Raleigh.