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My Current Worries About Being Gassed as a Child (UK - mid to late 1970s)

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incisive

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Aug 8, 2016
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UK
Hi. I was gassed as a child when visiting the dentist. I can't remember the exact dates but it must have been for overcrowding extraction after my adult teeth arrived as I'm sure that all my milk teeth came out of their own accord. This was almost certainly for my upper eye teeth as they were emerging a bit like walrus tusks. I thought it was more than one visit but can't think what the other visit might have been for unless they did one side at a time. I was born in 1964 and so I estimate that this could have been during the mid to late 1970s. I don't know if this is region specific but it would have been Surrey/Hants border.
I remember "floating off into space" and into a deep sleep. I had never experienced space flight but I understood the concept of gravity and it seemed like I had none as I floated away. I was not conscious during the operation. I don't know if this was nitrous or some other gas.
My concern is that I might have gone too far under. I have looked it up in a few places to see if there's a scale of unconsciousness ranging from the pleasurable to the dangerous but have found nothing conclusive. Can anyone please shed any light on the following:
1. What gas was I likely to have been given in that region at that time?
2. What would have been the permissible levels of unconsciousness back then?
3. Do current guidelines differ from back then?
4. Did I go too far under?
Thank you.
 
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Tink

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Re: My Current Worries About Being Gassed as a Child (UK - mid to late 1970s)

Hi incisive, welcome!

Not a dentist - but that sounds like a general anaesthetic you had as a child, which is different from the conscious sedation that's used by dentists now.

In the 70s & 80s in the UK it was quite common to knock children out entirely using gas to extract teeth, I had 4 out that way as a child myself, sometime in the mid 80s. I was totally out.

They've stopped doing that now, and general anaesthetic is only rarely used for dental work in the UK, and even then only at a dental hospital. So yes, the rules have changed quite a bit.


What is sometimes used now in dental practises is conscious sedation - usually from a drug that's given intravenously, not gas. With conscious sedation you would be kind of 'out of it', but still conscious and able to respond to the dentist, although most people won't remember most of the procedure. It is quite different to a general anaesthetic, which is what you would have had all those years ago. You may be reading about conscious sedation, I wonder if that is where the confusion might be coming from?


So to answer the specific questions:

1. Don't know, but one of the dentists might! (watch this space)
2. It would have been a general anaesthetic, so you were supposed to be completely unconscious
3. Yes. They don't use general anaesthetic any more in UK dentistry, except occasionally at the dental hospitals.
4. No - see answer 2 above.



For what it's worth, it won't have done you any long term harm, lots of us had that as children, so you do not need to worry. The reason they stopped doing it was to do with immediate risk to the child (i.e. not waking up from the anaesthetic!) rather than because of any risk of long term harm.

Do you have a dentist now? They would be well versed in the rules and could probably answer a lot of your questions.

Quite a lot of people develop a dental phobia or worry because of those sorts of experiences as a child - it may help you to know that things have changed a lot, and dentistry now is pretty much unrecognisable from what it was in the 70s.


Hope something in there is helpful!

Tink x
 
carole

carole

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Re: My Current Worries About Being Gassed as a Child (UK - mid to late 1970s)

Hi incisive, I am sorry but I think you need a different kind of forum for your questions. This forum is for people that are phobic/nervous about seeing a dentist and getting treatment.

You don't mention that you are. I am not a dentist either and I cannot answer your questions but I had treatment in the 60's and the 70's and a lot of us were traumatised by it. They used to be paid by the filling etc... so made sure we had plenty.

I don't know what the purpose of your questions are but I don't think we can help with them.

If you are indeed phobic/nervous then please let us know and we can offer you support and encouragement in getting any treatment you may need.
 
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incisive

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Aug 8, 2016
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Location
UK
Re: My Current Worries About Being Gassed as a Child (UK - mid to late 1970s)

Tink - thank you for your reply. That really is a great help.
Carole - In recovering from depression one has to rebuild trust on all levels. The depressive reluctance to visit the dentist may be different from a phobia but it might have a similar root cause and in my mind is thus relevant. Sorry for any inconvenience caused and thank you once again.
 
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Tink

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Messages
751
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Re: My Current Worries About Being Gassed as a Child (UK - mid to late 1970s)

Hi incisive -

You're very welcome, glad I could be of some help!

Your post is totally relevant - there are loads of people on here who have trust issues, many of which are rooted in bad or distressing childhood experiences at the dentist. What one person calls reluctance to visit the dentist and trust issues, another might call dental anxiety, and still another might call phobia. It's all sides of the same coin. Stick around, you are in the right place.

I totally get the trust thing. And the depression thing, although thankfully that's a long way in the past for me. Glad to hear you are recovering, I hope things go well for you.

Are you working up to visiting the dentist?


Tink x
 
carole

carole

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Re: My Current Worries About Being Gassed as a Child (UK - mid to late 1970s)

incisive may I take this chance to welcome you to the forum. Depression is a terrible thing, it doesn't help that it is a hidden illness.

There is no way that you have caused any inconvenience at all. I think you could benefit from the support and encouragement that we can offer on here. I understand how dental treatment effected a lot of us back in the 60s and 70s myself being one of the kids back then.

I think it might help you if you concentrate on thinking about finding a dentist that can help you with any oral problems you may have now. It is really hard I know to get passed the anger and fear that some dentists caused back then. But it will give you an enormous boost both to your confidence and general well being if you find the courage to get treatment.

Things have changed so much and the dentists these days talk to us and when they advise us on what treatment they recommend we need they will discuss how best to do it and at a speed that you can cope with. The days of the dentist working on us have gone and they work with us. You are in control of what happens in the dental chair and you can arrange stop signals so that if you need them you can have a break. You have to give consent and agree to all and any treatment. :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::butterfly:

I have moved your thread to the support section of the forum as I think you would benefit more with it being here.
All the best to you
 
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sammyjayneex

Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2016
Messages
32
Hello

I could have written this post!!
I'm 28 and I was put to sleep as a child for teeth extractions using gas. I hated the feeling, the feeling of going to a deep sleep with the dentist talking in the background and it felt weird. Since then the thought of being put to sleep terrifies me so I known how you feel. I don't think it did me any long term harm but it wasn't very nice I remember like it was yesterday being so scared. I actually tried ripping the mask off my face.. It was absolutely horrible.
 
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