Lightheadedness at the dentist could prove serious

November 25, 2008

CHICAGO (November 25, 2008) - You see it in movies or while viewing your favorite sitcom; a scene at the doctor's office where the character inevitably gets a little woozy which leads to a fainting spell. It may seem funny when watching it all unfold on television, but according to a study in the May/June 2008 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal, this type of reaction, in real life settings, these breath-holding scenarios are the most common emergency situation in the dental office.

This condition is known as vasovagal syncope and lead author of the study, Rubia Kapusta, DDS, MS, explains that both dentists and patients should be aware of the signs and be prepared in case it occurs. Vasovagal syncope is characterized by a loss of consciousness and muscle tone, which typically are preceded by non-specific symptoms that last anywhere from a few seconds to a minute. These symptoms result from alterations in the nervous system that can include dizziness, lightheadedness, paleness, palpitations, nausea, sweating, hyperventilation and changes in vision.

According to Dr. Kapusta, "Any patient who experiences a syncope reaction may have an underlying cause that can predispose him or her to a life-threatening situation."

It is considered the most common clinical problem that occurs among patients of all ages, affecting 3.5 percent of the general population. Emotional stress, anxiety, pain, fatigue and being in a hot and crowded environment can lead to vasovagal syncope.

"It is not uncommon for patients to experience some anxiety when visiting their general dentist," says AGD spokesperson, Melvin Pierson, DDS. "Yet, there are ways to lessen the possibility of an anxiety-related incident." Dr. Pierson encourages patients to discuss with their general dentist any fears they may have, and when seeing a dentist for the first time, schedule a preliminary visit.

"Asking questions and requesting informational materials can help you get a better understanding of your dental service or treatment," says Dr. Pierson. "General dentists are trained to answer questions and tell you what to expect to help you feel comfortable."

If the signs and symptoms of vasovagal syncope do occur, the dental procedure will be immediately stopped and treatment provided as soon as possible.
-end-
The AGD is a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up-to-date in the profession through continuing education. Founded in 1952, the AGD has grown to become the world's second largest dental association, which is the only association that exclusively represents the needs and interests of general dentists.

More than 786,000 persons are employed directly in the field of general dentistry. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services related to patients' oral health needs.

Academy of General Dentistry

Related Nervous System Articles from Brightsurf:

Chikungunya may affect central nervous system as well as joints and lungs
Investigation conducted by international group of researchers showed that chikungunya virus can cause neurological infections.

Glial cells play an active role in the nervous system
Researchers at M√ľnster University, Germany, have discovered that glial cells - one of the main components of the brain -not only control the speed of nerve conduction, but also influence the precision of signal transduction in the brain.

Protein produced by the nervous system may help treatments for inflammatory diseases
A Rutgers-led team discover a protein produced by nervous system may be key to treating inflammatory diseases like asthma, allergies, chronic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

COVID-19 may attack patients' central nervous system
''There may be more central nervous system penetration of the virus than we think based on the prevalence of olfaction-associated depressed mood and anxiety and this really opens up doors for future investigations to look at how the virus may interact with the central nervous system,'' explains Ahmad Sedaghat, MD, PhD.

Lifting weights makes your nervous system stronger, too
Gym-goers may get frustrated when they don't see results from weightlifting right away, but their efforts are not in vain: the first few weeks of training strengthen the nervous system, not muscles.

COVID-19 threatens the entire nervous system
A new review of neurological symptoms of COVID-19 patients in current scientific literature reveals the disease poses a global threat to the entire nervous system.

Fewer scars in the central nervous system
Researchers have discovered the influence of the coagulation factor fibrinogen on the damaged brain.

Polymerized estrogen shown to protect nervous system cells
In research published today in Nature Communications, an interdisciplinary team from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute demonstrated how estrogen -- a natural hormone produced in the body -- can be polymerized into a slow-releasing biomaterial and applied to nervous system cells to protect those cells and even promote regeneration.

Discovery concerning the nervous system overturns a previous theory
It appears that when our nervous system is developing, only the most viable neurons survive, while immature neurons are weeded out and die.

Autonomic nervous system appears to function well regardless of mode of childbirth
'In a low-risk group of babies born full-term, the autonomic nervous system and cortical systems appear to function well regardless of whether infants were exposed to labor prior to birth,' says Sarah B.

Read More: Nervous System News and Nervous System Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.