Background: Pulse oximeters are a non-invasive device useful in standardization of care in medical and dental offices for monitoring respiratory status during operative procedures. A close affiliation exists between the peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) and pulse rate which is affected by variables including exercise, traumatic events and operative procedures which may be encountered during standardized dental treatment. Aim: This study was carried out amongst 6-10-year-old children to evaluate the effect of dental operative procedures on peripheral oxygen saturation and pulse rate in Benin-City, Nigeria. Materials and methods: The peripheral oxygen saturation and pulse rate was assessed in 20 children each with a total number of 100 children. They were selected via a convenient sampling method for five procedures; 3 invasive (extraction, GIC filling and Pulpotomy) and 2 non-invasive (Fluoride therapy and scaling and polishing) procedures. The pulse oximeter was placed on the left index finger of each child at five different times: child in play room (PR1), child in the operatory (SR1), child on the dental chair before treatment (SR2), during treatment (SR3) and post treatment (PR2). The SpO2 level and pulse rate was then assessed at each time and recorded. Associations between frequencies were evaluated with the chi-square test. The Student’s t-test was used to compare means of the SpO2 and Pulse rate values. One way ANOVA was used for the values measured at different periods. Correlations between age, procedures and time were determined using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 21) software. Significant values of P<0.05 were applied where applicable Results: The Mean age was 8.2 ± 0.7 years. There was a significant drop in the peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels for extractions and pulpotomy (mean range from 99% to 89% ± 1.6) respectively. Other procedures recorded a drop with a mean range from 99% to 96% ± 0.4 for GIC fillings and 99% to 94% ± 0.9 for scaling and polishing respectively during operative procedures (SR2). The SpO2 levels remained constant during topical fluoride therapy. The pulse rate increased sequentially for all procedures with its highest recorded value of 134bpm for scaling and polishing. There was also a significant increase in the pulse rate during operative dental procedures (SR2) for extractions, pulpotomies and scaling and polishing. Conclusion: Changes in SpO2 values occurred significantly during routine dental procedures in healthy young children with the critical values of less than 90% recorded during extractions and pulpotomies.
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