If you have been diagnosed with vasovagal syncope after a number of fainting episodes, then it's important to take your condition into account before any event that could cause you to faint. For most people, a trip to the dentist's office could be a potential trigger. The sight of a needle, the feeling of a drill in your mouth, or the mere thought of someone pulling one of your teeth could cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, causing you to pass out.
Chances are, you have no desire to faint in the dentist's chair -- and your dentist doesn't want an unconscious patient, either! Here are a few precautions you can take to help prevent a syncope episode during your next dental appointment.
Tell your dentist about your condition.
Dentists spend a lot of time learning about human anatomy and physiology during dental school, so if you tell them you have vasovagal syncope, they should have a pretty good idea of what this means. You should also tell your dentist if there are any specific events you fear could lead to a fainting episode so they can work to avoid those events. For instance, if you have fainted at the sight of the needle before, tell your dentist. They may be able to have you close your eyes whenever the needle is in your line of vision or carefully manipulate the needle so you don't see it entering your mouth.
Practice mental distancing prior to your appointment.
Many patients with syncope find that if they can occupy their minds with other thoughts rather than focusing on their fainting triggers, they can decrease the chances of a fainting episode. For instance, if you're able to dwell on your upcoming soccer game while your dentist is filling your tooth, you'll be less likely to faint. Practice tuning out the world around you and remaining in deep thought prior to your dental appointment.
Watching some guided meditation videos on YouTube -- especially those intended specifically to be used during dental appointments -- may help. You could even wear your headphones and listen to some guided meditation videos during the appointment if your dentist is comfortable with this.
Ask about laughing gas.
If you need anything more than a general cleaning done, ask your dentist about having laughing gas during the appointment. Also known as nitrous oxide, this is a gas that you inhale for mild sedation. It will make you feel relaxed so you don't mind that the dentist is working in your mouth. Laughing gas does not work for all patients with syncope, but it does for some. You may want to try it during a minor procedure to see if it works prior to using it during a more involved appointment. Some dentists do not offer laughing gas, so consider switching to one who does if you think sedation would benefit you.
Lift your legs.
You faint because your brain does not get enough oxygen when your blood pressure drops. If you lay with your legs elevated, this encourages more blood to flow towards your head, so you are less likely to faint. Most dentist chairs are adjustable so you can lie in a position that elevates your legs somewhat while your dentist works. If your dentist's chair does not work this way, see if he or she will allow you to put a rolled-up blanket under your legs to elevate them.
Fainting while at the dental office having work done will never be ideal, but you can prepare yourself and your dentist for this unfortunate event. Visit a site like http://www.accentdentalnwi.com/ to learn more about preparing for dental appointments in general.Share