I am a coward at the dentist and I have a low tolerance for pain. I know I need sedation but I’m concerned about the safety. A normal person would be numbed with local anesthetic, but it doesn’t work for me. My dentist has tried numbing me 2 hours before my appointment but it has no effect. It’s as if nothing was done at all. He isn’t a gentle dentist either. So I’ve put off any serious dental work. Within the past two weeks I received a postcard in the mail from a nearby dental office. It’s a husband and wife team that practices sedation dentistry. Is this really a safe alternative? Is there any way to tell whether or not it would work on me before the dentist starts drilling in my mouth? Thanks Lizzy
Lizzy – Your case is not unusual. Millions of Americans have dental anxiety or dental phobia and consider themselves to be dental cowards. It helps to have a gentle dentist, but sometimes that isn’t enough. When the anxiety is high enough, local anesthetic either wears off very quickly or doesn’t work at all. Sedation dentistry is a safe alternative.
Conscious oral sedation uses common anti-anxiety medication to relax you. You’ll still be conscious and have your reflexes, and your vital signs will be monitored. But you’ll be completely relaxed. Some dentists use nitrous oxide to calm the patient so that the local anesthetic will be effective. Remember sedation is not local anesthetic, but it helps you relax so that the anesthetic will work. It can also help you experience less sensitivity to pain.
Sedation Dentistry Is Safe
Sedation dentistry is safer and less expensive than general anesthesia. It helps you to have a pleasant dental experience, and it’s likely that you won’t recall what happened during the appointment. It is safe. Your medical and prescription history is reviewed to determine if you are a candidate for it. During your dental procedure, your vital signs are monitored.
You can find a gentle dentist who enjoys treating fearful and anxious patients. It’s important that you get the treatment you need, so that you can maintain good oral health. Sedation dentistry can help.
This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy’s office is convenient to Addison, Allen, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Frisco, Garland, Highland Park, and Little Elm.
Hi. I am a Vet with PTS and there are certain situations that make my anxiety worse. Before the incident that caused the PTS I was nervous about dentists appointments but now it’s over the top. I agreed to sedation but under the condition that my service dog is present with me for dental procedures. My dog isn’t just a service dog. If in any way I am being harmed she will come to my defense. It is just the state of my being drowsy and out of full control that makes me uneasy. I’ve had the dog at the office before but when I told my hygienist that I needed to bring the dog for any dental procedure beyond my cleaning it was clear to me that she doesn’t like dogs. I could tell by the way the conversation went. I know its not up to her but I can’t take any flack about this. I just can’t. Do you have any suggestions about how to deal with this? I am thinking about switching to a woman dentist for a little more compassion by the dentist and staff. Jamison
Your anxiety and the history of it make it understandable that dental appointments are a challenge for you. Sedation dentistry is the right choice. Your oral health is important, so whatever is needed for you to achieve it should be respected.
Dental offices have different policies about animals in the office, but they should be understanding and respectful of your service dog. Speak with your dentist in person to explain the cause of your anxiety and why it’s so important to be accompanied by your service dog.
Sedation dentists understand anxiety. They are empathetic to patients who are anxious, and they are interested in knowing the source of your anxiety. Your candid conversation will help your dentist and the staff members properly care for your needs.
If for some reason your wishes are not respected, contact several other sedation dentists’ offices and request a consultation with each dentist. You will find the right dentist who will make the effort to ensure your dental visit is comfortable and productive.
This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Marijuana makes me feel easy and calm like I’m hand gliding over the beach on a warm day. I use it on weekends to help me relax. Every once in a while I will use it during the week depending on my stress level. I have been on anti-depressants before and they made me get thoughts of hurting myself, but I’ve never had those thoughts with MJ. So I don’t need it as often as I took the prescription meds. I’m going to schedule a root canal for one tooth, another one needs to be pulled, and later I’ll get a dental bridge for the one that will be pulled. After the dentist described everything he had to do, I thought to myself that a little MJ before my appointment would be in order. Instead my dentist talked to me for 10 minutes about sedation and a little pill I would take before the appointment. I am not feeling the anti-anxiety meds idea, not at all. So here’s my question: if MJ is my relaxation method of choice can I refuse sedation and maybe sign off on something to say that I realize what I am doing. Thank you very kindly. Mitch
Mitch – Although you use marijuana to help you relax, it shouldn’t be used before or after your dental appointments. Here’s why:
- Smoking of any sort interferes with the oral healing process. An abstract from February 2008 Journal of the American Medical Association noted that in one study, it was found that periodontal (gum) disease is linked to regular marijuana use—and it increases the risk.
- When a tooth is extracted or when a root canal is performed, your gums are at risk of infection. It’s best to avoid anything that can prevent proper healing. Keep in mind that the things you need to avoid after your dental procedures aren’t limited to smoking. You will be given instruction for proper after care. The goal is to help you have successful, infection-free treatment.
- The action of sucking or drawing from tobacco or marijuana cigarettes can dislodge blood clots. The smoke itself is harmful to the teeth and gums.
Sedation dentistry provides a low dose of anti-anxiety medication. It is not for daily, long-term use, but instead is taken before your dental appointment. Speak with your dentist about your concerns for the medication used to help you relax. He will answer your questions and discuss your options.
This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
I have 3 cavities that need to be filled. I have avoided making the appointment to get the work done because I hate going to the dentist. What is the process for filling the cavities? Is a needle involved? Thanks. Cherise
Cherise – Before your cavities are filled, your teeth and gums are numbed to prevent you from experiencing pain during the procedure. But a topical anesthetic will be applied to prevent you from feeling the pain of the injection.
When your teeth and gums are numb, the decay in the tooth is removed. Your tooth will be rinsed to remove any debris around it. The tooth will be prepared and filling will be placed in it. You can get tooth-colored fillings that blend in naturally with your teeth. The numbness in your mouth will gradually diminish within several hours after the appointment.
If you are particularly anxious, you can find a dentist who provides sedation dentistry for anxious patients. Sedation dentistry relaxes you so that you can have a productive dental appointment.
This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.