If you think about it, most surgeries would be terrible to go through without anesthesia. And they still would today. While it’s often swept to the sidelines, anesthesiology is just as critical a discipline as other dental specialties, even if others fail to see its importance.
Fortunately, things are shaking up for this neglected field. Last March, dental anesthesiology was finally recognized as a dental specialty. This recognition was done by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards.
The ADA News reported that this came in the wake of the National thatCommission’s adoption of a resolution that would “recognize dental anesthesiology as a dental specialty.” These specialties, according to the commission, look to “to protect the public, nurture the art and science of dentistry and improve the quality of care.”
But what does this mean for anesthesiology? And why is it so important? Let’s break it down further.
The origins of anesthesia in the dental field
To be recognized as a dental specialty also honors its origins into dentistry. The concept and use of anesthesia have been around for some time. But its entrance into the American medical field began with a dental extraction.
Around the 1900s, a medical student named William Clarke etherized a patient for an extraction. Then, around the 19th century, Dr. Horace Wells decided to inhale nitrous oxide to test its anesthetic properties. Eventually, William T.G. Morton brought anesthesia to the public eye. He did this by demonstrating the use of ether anesthesia in surgery. One could then say that the rest was history.
Anesthesiology wouldn’t have rapidly evolved if it were not relevant to the medical sciences. And indeed, it’s made leaps and bounds since then.
Nowadays, anesthesiology does not only concern itself with the numbing of pain, but also a patient’s survival. If, for instance, a patient must be responsive during a critical operation, the anesthesiologist must be able to administer the right amount of dosage to accommodate that need. And during life-threatening situations, the wrong amount of anesthesia could turn the situation ugly in a matter of minutes.
The importance of being a dental specialty
According to the American Dental Association, to become a dental specialty, a field must satisfy the following requirements:
- A valid sponsoring organization must represent it;
- It must be a “distinct and well-defined field” according to the Commission on Dental Accreditation;
- It must have unique skills outside those required of dental school graduates;
- It must have scientific documentation of its contributions to the field, professional education, research needs, and oral health services;
- It must benefit “some aspect of clinical patient care;”
- It must have two years of formal advanced education programs which are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation at least.
To satisfy all six requirements is to prove its worth and contributions to the dental practice as large. This recognition allows professionals in the field to spread awareness about anesthesia’s importance during operation, particularly in conjunction with other specialties. So here’s one reason why you should thank your anesthesiologist: they might have saved your life numerous times.