In daily clinical practice, any dental extraction is conducted under local anesthesia, without the addition of sedation procedures, conscious or deep, nor under general anesthesia.
Extraction is a procedure that can stimulate significant anxiety reactions.
Recently, an interesting article by Victoria Mellish was published in the British Dental Journal.
The author referred to the reality of the United Kingdom: here the professional who is faced with a complex extraction case, because of the anatomy of the element as well as the pathological history of the patient, can choose to turn to the National Health Service (NHS). Here the patient will be evaluated by a specialist in oral or maxillofacial surgery and, in most cases, treated under simple local anesthesia. Only one patient in approximately five will be treated under sedation or general anesthesia after an average wait of 2-4 months. This does not mean that these anesthesia regimens are necessarily advantageous: on the one hand, they promote intraoperative anxiety and, on the other hand, they do not intervene on preoperative anxiety, which can be prolonged by reviewing the waiting lists.
Whatever the final choice, the author stresses the importance of the clinician who sends the patient to provide them with all the useful information during the waiting period. The proposed modality is based on a digital communication model.
The article to which reference is made contains a detailed qualitative analysis of the available sites, among those aimed at patients, that deal with the subject in question. In the UK, this type of content is well regulated in terms of ethics, but by looking at the sharing forums, for example, you can find different feedback.
The author has identified herself with the lay subject in search of indications on the web for extractive surgery, typing on Google a total of five combinations of the following different key phrases on Google: “dental extraction”, “oral surgery”, combined with “anxiety or possibly “fear”.
The content, reliability and legibility of the first ten websites for each key phrase were evaluated qualitatively using the checklist of a specialist oral surgery site, the DISCERN checklist and the Flesch-Kincaid tool.
The results give an unsatisfactory picture. 70% of the sites are aimed primarily at health professionals. 63% of the pages refer to sedation methods, but only 7% of them provide the means to deepen the subject. Only 16% of the pages actively give advice on relaxation. Finally, readability exceeds the average capacity of the user (for adults in the UK) in 92% of cases.
In conclusion, it can be said that a tool such as health communication has potential for clinical management in the patient but, at the same time, should be treated correctly in terms of register and content.