Sedation Dentistry Aids Healing
In this study, researchers looked at 39 patients undergoing 51 gum graft procedures. Gum graft procedures help repair gums damaged by gum disease. It’s one of the most effective treatments to reverse receding gums. In the procedure, gum tissue is cut from one part of the mouth–usually the roof of the mouth (palate)–and stitched onto another part of the gums to restore the gum tissue lost there.
Dental anxiety is not uncommon in gum graft patients in Sydney. Partly, this is because the procedure has a reputation for being relatively painful. However, it’s also partly because patients are more likely to need gum graft surgery if they neglect getting dental care, such as if they’re skipping dental cleanings out of anxiety. So it’s not surprising that 26 of the gum graft patients (with 33 of the surgical sites) requested sedation dentistry.
The 26 sedation dentistry patients received diazepam (Valium) for 8 days: one day before their procedure and for the seven days after the procedure. It’s not uncommon to start sedation dentistry before a procedure, although it is unusual for patients to take sedation for a full seven days following the procedure.
To verify healing, researchers examined the treatment area, took pictures, and applied hydrogen peroxide. They found that by day 14, new skin had fully grown over the wounds in 48% of the sedation dentistry patients, compared to only 35% of those who got no medication.
In addition to looking at healing, researchers measured melatonin levels in those who got sedation dentistry and those who didn’t. They found that those who got sedation dentistry also had significantly higher levels of melatonin than those who didn’t get sedation. Statistical analysis showed that those who had fully healed had higher preoperative melatonin levels, whether or not they were in the medication group.