I want to know how a COPD patient deals with going to the dentist. I haven't been to one since I was diagnosed in 2006, so I don't know how I'll be able to handle breathing while having my mouth open for a long time. Any inputs or pointers? I really appreciate it.
Carmen - Do you use supplemental oxygen? If not, I would think you would not have any problems unless you are not someone that normally breathes through their nose. Try practicing like you were in the dentist's chair and see how it goes for you. If you do use O2, it might be a little trickier, but I still think you should be okay unless it is for a long period of time. Make sure the dentist knows of your condition. It would be somewhat stressful I agree, but might not be nearly as bad if you practice first.
Hopefully, someone else will reply that has actually been to the dentist that has the concerns that COPD patients have.
In December of last year, I ended up having all my teeth extracted and dentures made. I had immediate dentures, so there were three dental appointments to make impressions, etc., and I had to have my mouth open for several minutes. I took my supplemental oxygen with me, and the dentists were well aware of my condition. Fortunately, I had no difficulty, but those were not long sessions.
However, when I had my teeth extracted, the process took an hour and a half. To be on the safe side, the extraction was performed at the VA hospital, and I used their O2, and had the nose hose attached for the entire time. My mouth was definitely open for an extended time; but I breathe through my nose. I had my own pulse-oximeter, and I checked it regularly. The oral surgeon and the assistants kept asking me if I was OK and if I needed a break.
I wear 02 and don't have a problem at all. I would make sure I tell them when I schedule the appointment so they won't leave you waiting for a long time. You wouldn't want to run out of 02. Don't worry, you will do fine. I'm not the only patient that uses oxygen where I go. A lot of heart patients use it.
I can understand your apprehension Carmen
There are several things that you need to do. First is not to put off going any longer. I have a mental picture of what yours situation is dentally and it may not be the best. Call for an appointment as soon as you find a dentist. Secondly-on making the appointment be sure tht you tell the receptoinist of you physical impairement. This is highly important. The doctor and his stall need to know what they are going to be dealing with and are prepared to help you in any situation. We are not an extreme case to work with. Ask the receptionist if they have other patients with COPD and tell them how advanced you are. Please please for your own benifit- be totally honest not minimizing or exagerating you condition. If there is some question in your mind then talk to your diagnosing M.D. Follow the advice of the dentist on preparing for your visit. Have an accurate list of your meds and dosages you take. On your first appointment you probably wont be having any invasive procedures done other than cleaning xrays and visual exam and after four years this may even be broken into several appointments. This will depend on your oral condition. I hope that you have found an understanding individual that is willing to work with you and not rush you if you do have any distress come up. This is why I said to ask if they have other patients with your situation. If they do then they know what to expect from your side.
I know that your apprehension level is up a notch or two but if you have the right doctor it wont be bad at all. Hope this helps. I'm sorry I didn't catch your message earlier. If I can help further please let us kow. Let us know how it goes for you.
Carmen, I Just recently I had the pleasure of the Dentist chair for two and a half hours and I did fine. My Dentist and his assistant's are very mindfull of my condition and very understanding. I use oxygen and they easily work around it. I am sure other Dentist's work the same way good luck and don't wait any longer.
Thank you all for your replies. I think Ill do ok as I dont use O2 yet. Problem is how do I know if Ill need any? I tedn to panic. Am dying to have a stem cell treatment again, by the way Dr. Lucero who is on this forum works with the doctors of Adistem or is a consultant for them. He's here in the Philipiines. Am just trying to raise money to have it done. Thanks to all you have been very helpful.