Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) promotes healing of wounds, improves vascularity and fights infection. This therapy has improved quality of life for patients who have undergone radiation to the head and neck to treat cancer. For these patients, HBOT is a recommended treatment in conjunction with any invasive dental procedure.
The winter after I endured targeted radiation therapy for cancer on the lateral border of my tongue, I had a large crack in my lower lip that would not heal. I had 28 dives of HBOT and the cracked lip finally healed. 10 years later, a month after an extraction when my jaw still ached, I had another 10 dives of HBOT. After the 2nd treatment, the pain was eradicated. It’s been 6 years since then, and I’m having another 10 dives just after my most recent extraction, to prevent infection to my bone.
My blood pressure and ears are checked before and after each treatment. It takes 10-15 minutes to descend the 2 atmospheres. I open my jaw, drink water from the ’approved’ water bottle, and gently push air through my nose to release pressure on my ears. For 90-100 minutes, I breathe pure oxygen and simply relax. It takes another 10-15 minutes to ascend again. The nurse keeps an eye on you and can speak to you through the phone attachment.
You can’t bring anything into the chamber because of the spark that static electricity could create. However, they have a TV outside the chamber and sound is piped in. If you watch a good movie, the time flies by. You can roll on your side or stay on your back. If you are tired, the white noise of the oxygen can lull you to sleep.