I decided to try out a new dentist because my good friend can’t stop raving about him. When I filled out all the new patient paperwork, there was a field on the health history form that asked if I had respiratory problems or asthma. I have always had asthma so I answered yes to this question. He refused to treat me without my inhaler. But I told him that I take daily oral medication to treat it. He recommended that I always have my inhaler with me at appointments and this is something that my old dentist never mentioned. What’s the big deal?
– Jeff in Idaho
Millions of American deal with dental anxiety when they go to the dentist. Even if it’s just a routine appointment, many people still have some level on anxiousness. Research actually shows that the top reason that asthma patients suffer an attack is due to anxiety. Maybe this doesn’t sound much like you, but it is still a good idea to have your inhaler on hand.
Other issues that may contribute to an asthma attack are the dentist’s regular use of certain dental materials or tools. For example dentifrices, rubber dams, the use of fluoride trays, cotton, or even some of the dental sealant materials can trigger a response. Or if you need a cavity filled or preparation of a dental crown, there may be some dust from the friction during use of the drill that would induce an attack. Most dentists are equipped for a dental emergency or response such as this, but it is best that you have your personal inhaler that has been specifically prescribed for you.
It has also been found that after the administration of a numbing agent or local anesthetic there may be an increase of risk for acute asthma patients. Therefore, during a more intrusive dental procedure like a root canal or tooth extraction, this could be a factor. You may want to discuss whether or not you would be a candidate for sedation dentistry if you require a procedure like this.
Other tips for dental care in asthma patients include relaxing and controlling your breathing because many patients subconsciously hold their breath making oxygen levels drop. This sudden drop can cause increased anxiety and panic. Avoiding caffeine and having a meal or snack high in protein can also help keep you calm.
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.