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Feeling Light-headed

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by trypmo, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. trypmo

    trypmo Arch Fiend
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    OK, this is really embarrassing, but here goes.

    I was watching a wisdom tooth extraction for the first time this past week, and it was a fascinating and wonderful experience. I saw the blood, saw the tooth ease out of the socket, and marvelled at its having come out in one piece.

    It was only after the extraction procedure was done that my mind realized what it had been watching and a wave of light-headedness came over me.

    It was as though all of the blood that normally resides in my head had suddenly swooped down to dwell somewhere around my stomach. It even felt like there was this huge pressure differential in my ears. There was a little nausea, but I was more afraid of falling over than of vomiting.

    Of course, trying to act normally, I hazily excused myself from the office for a bit of fresh air and got back to normal within 5 minutes easily.


    Now, I know that this has to be 100% mental because it didn't come over me until I started thinking about what I'd seen; during the extraction itself, I was enthralled, and everything felt perfectly normal.

    Have any of you guys ever done mental exercises to successfully master light-headedness, or is it something you find goes away after a few extractions/surgeries, or is it a lost cause if the symptoms appear at all?

    :confused: :(
     
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  2. OP
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    trypmo

    trypmo Arch Fiend
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    Postscript:

    In order to try to desensitize myself to these things, I've been looking for web sites with pictures of particularly gory wounds (real ones, not from movies) and surgeries. I download the pics and go through them full-screen when I'm alone, focusing as hard as I can to call up the light-headedness, and then practice controlling it.

    A couple of useful sites I've found are here for wounds and here for surgeries.


    Any other suggestions, other than that I not mention this again and gross you out?
     
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  3. The Musketeer

    The Musketeer Guardian of Justice
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  4. sxr71

    sxr71 Senior Member
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    That happened the first time when I was observing an extraction. I attributed it to not having breakfast as well as it being my first time. Since then I have been making it a point to eat breakfast before arriving at the office. I haven't had the problem since.
     
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  5. Bickle

    Bickle future NYC taxi driver
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    No way! My dentist was telling me a story of when he was observing some crazy jaw surgery (I cant remember exactly what it was). Anyways, he was standing on a foot stool and looking over the shoulder of the OMS. After 20 min or so, he felt light headed and almost passed out on the surgeon.

    Needless to say, he is fine with that sort of stuff now, so its something you definately get used to.
     
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  6. Dr.BadVibes

    Dr.BadVibes Membership Revoked
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    I dont know about you, but when I see an extraction, the blood that normally resides in my head suddenly swoops down to another organ of my body.....I just love extractions!!!:love:
     
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  7. Dr.SpongeBobDDS

    Dr.SpongeBobDDS Senior Member
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    Dude, that's really really weird.
     
  8. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
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    Geeze man, I hope that was BEFORE dental school-- Otherwise I got to wonder how did that dentist survive Gross Anatomy during his freshman year. :D
     
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  9. Bickle

    Bickle future NYC taxi driver
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    No, it was during dental school, possibly on an OMS rotation.
     
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  10. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
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    I'd feel sorry for his Gross lab partners in Freshman year dental school then... He must have puked on the cadaver every time he walked in the lab. :laugh:
     
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  11. mlonier

    mlonier Member
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  12. OP
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    trypmo

    trypmo Arch Fiend
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    Eating something beforehand actually helps? Cool! I had thought that it would be better not to have anything in there to threaten to come back up. Maybe that was my problem, then! Thanks!!


    Anybody know what it is that causes these reactions? Maybe it's something programmed into humans from prehistoric days when any serious injuries meant a dangerous situation that should be avoided, so those who got queasy around serious injuries had a better chance of survival and reproduction? Who knows.

    Anyway, would those of you who eventually got over the light-headedness say that it's primarily a mental thing to be worked through, or is it something you can get accustomed to without putting any real effort into it, just a matter of time?

    Thanks 4 all ur responses!
     
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  13. saman1

    saman1 Member
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    This is really embarassing.

    The first time I observed a perio procedure I pretty much almost passed out. It was towards the end of the surgery and I started to feel really light headed. What scared me the most was that everything started to turn a little yellow. From what everyone told me, I wasn't looking too well either. I myself turned a little yellow for some reason.

    The funny thing was that the patient who had just had the surgery was a paramedic. As soon as he saw I wasn't feeling too well he got up and put me in the dental chair. My boss came in and gave me some oxygen.

    I really don't know why it happened. Maybe it was because it was the first time I had ever seen any medical procedure. It was probably the site of bloody tissue being torn out of a person's mouth that bugged me.

    I've since then assisted in well over a hundred perio surgeries now. Some have been very messy and bloody (no epi for some patients). I'm fine now and I just look back at it and laugh.

    :)
     
  14. saman1

    saman1 Member
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  15. Bickle

    Bickle future NYC taxi driver
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    You need to have a good amount of blood sugar if you have a quesy stomach. Have lots of OJ, fruits, and other good stuff like that beforehand to keep from taking an unwanted nap.
     
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  16. sxr71

    sxr71 Senior Member
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    Yes, this what I feel too. With my limited knowledge of physiology, I think that when we go without breakfast we are actually starving. Since many of us are used to not having breakfast we don't normally feel it. But when I witnessed that procedure that day the hunger "made itself known." At least that's what I think.

    I think that OJ + some complex carbs are best.
     
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  17. JRogoff

    JRogoff Resident Palatal Phallacy
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    Man, some of those are real gorss!
     
  18. DcS

    DcS damn the red baron
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    Same thing happened to me when I was observing my 1st extractions. I didn't eat breakfast, was on my feet for a few hours standing in 1 place, was sweating like crazy in my full gear and mask, then got cold all of a sudden, and then light-headed. All the typical signs of pre and post-syncope. Good thing I excused myself and didn't pass out on the patient. It was definitely due to lack of sleep and not eating. I too make sure I eat and it's been fine.
     
  19. msummar_smc

    msummar_smc Member
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    Some of these reactions may be vasovagal responses. Your diapragm or other organ applies pressure to the vagal nerve causing your to feel lightheaded or potentially pass-out. Some people get them easier than others and different 'gross' or 'unappealing' things can cause them. For instance, a traumatic event such as the death of a family member or a painful 'bad-poop' (didn't know how to put that delicately) or seeing yourself bleed.

    Myself, I have a vasovagal response to me giving blood or seeing a cut on myself. I have absolutely no problem with blood from others ... I have seen dismembered limbs in an OR and numerous procedures. I have family members (it seems to me to be hereditary) that will fall at the site of a needle. I have 2 brothers that played D1 football and an uncle that was an All-SEC baseball player at Vanderbilt and they drop at the site :scared: of needles. Strange thing is that my Dad is a member of the 5 gallon club with the American Red Cross ... go figure how I got screwed.
     
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  20. OP
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    trypmo

    trypmo Arch Fiend
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    I went to shadow again today. I was coming in from another appointment, and I got out of it later than I had expected, so I didn't get to eat beforehand, as I had wanted to. Arrgh.

    So the first procedure I got to watch was an extraction, this time I think either a #19 or #20 (molar) mandibular. Actually, the patient was close to 80 yrs old, so the DDS didn't want to pull too hard lest he break bone structure, but the tooth had a root canal a long while back and was really set in there.

    The DDS ended up having to drill the tooth in half and get out the mesial and distal halves out separately. Then, with both halves, there was breakage which necessitated carving away some bone to get at the root tips and make sure everything was out of there.

    The procedure took a good 30-45 minutes, and by the latter part of it the DDS had sweat rolling down his brow into his eyes, and the patient was really ready for it to be over as well.

    I stood over the patient and watched the whole, bloody mess. Lots of pulling, lots of drilling, lots of leveraging, a bit of blood, and quite a lot of suctioning.

    Not one vasovagal twinge, not one lurch of the stomach, and not the least shadow of going dim around the peripheral vision.

    Man, I think I'm cured!!

    My mind was occupied both by the procedure (fascinating) and the patient (really sweet woman; we were all keeping track of whether she was OK and making sure she wasn't feeling any pain), and I think doing that somehow "crowded out" the light-headedness reaction for me.

    Now, the only thing that remains is to see whether that will always be the case herein after. I hope so!

    Hooray!

    :love: :hardy: :clap:
     
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  21. vcast

    vcast You just never know ...
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    the first time i shadowed a dentist i almost fainted twice!!

    it was horrible, the combination of standing all that time in heels, feeling uncomfortable in my suit, being half an hour late to the office, not having breakfast, then shadowing a perio made my experience very much like hell.

    now however, i have a great time since im absorbing knowledge like a sponge, and now i get to wear nice comfy scrubs. :D
     
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  22. DcS

    DcS damn the red baron
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    Just FYI, #20 is a 2nd PM. Glad you got overcame your initial experiences.
     
  23. msummar_smc

    msummar_smc Member
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    Congrats! Just a little desensitizing and everything is usually OK!
     
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  24. OP
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    trypmo

    trypmo Arch Fiend
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    D'OH! Uhh... I knew that... :oops:

    So, um, I guess it was a 19 after all :D
    In any case, it was a hell of a tenacious little thing!!


    Thanks for your support, y'all!
     
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  25. jota

    jota Member
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    I just found this thread, and had to reply too...

    On my first day of volunteering, the first patient was having an extraction done. She was a young girl and asked if she could hold my hand during the procedure. I said OK (that was about all I could do to help). Part way through, all of a sudden I was on the ground looking up at the dentist leaning over me asking if I was OK... :wow: I heard the assistant in the background saying, "Oh my god, she fainted..."

    I got up and brushed my self off, said I was OK, and the procedure went on. We all (even the patient) laughed about it afterwards. Thank god they were cool about it. I was afraid that maybe they wouldn't let me come back.

    I guess I wasn't much support for that patient... :laugh:

    I've seen lots of extractions now and it hasn't happened since. I do faint often, but I worked in a hospital years ago and had to take blood and stuff and it doesn't bother me on the job.

    I don't think I'll ever know what causes it. I have worked up by many different doctors.

    Anyway, I'm starting dental school this fall and I know that it won't be a problem.
     

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