Category Archives: Sedation Dentistry

Why Can’t My Dentist Get Me Numb?

I need serious help. At this moment, I’m living off of extremely strong painkillers. My dentist had to send me home with them because he doesn’t know what to do. He tried on five different appointments to get me numb. But, after at least seven shots and some kind of paste on my gums he still couldn’t get me numb enough to do my root canal. What gives? I’m miserable and my dentist feels horrible. He’s even refunded my money.

Scott T.

Dear Scott,

Gilbert Sedation Dentist

What a difficult experience. I’m sure you’re in tons of pain, so I will make this quick. I know exactly what is going on here, because a colleague of mine (and a dentist himself) had the same problem whenever he went in for treatment.

Believe it or not, this dentist suffered from dental anxiety. Between you and me, I think it was frightening for him not to be in charge of the procedure.

What many dentists don’t realize is that dental anxiety and Novocain (along with other numbing medications) are not a good mix. The anxiety ups your metabolism which in turn burns off the numbing agent. The higher the anxiety, the faster it burns it out.

There’s a simple solution. You need dental sedation. You’ll simply take a pill before your appointment which will completely relax you. Be aware that it relaxes you so much, you’ll need someone to drive you to and from your appointment along with someone to stay with you until you’re steady on your feet again.

Whenever a patient with dental fear uses sedation, it enables the numbing medication to do its job. You’ll experience a stress-free, pain-free root canal treatment.

Best of luck to you. Dental emergencies are the worst.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Can I Still Get Dental Sedation If I Take Anxiety Meds?

I’m on two medications. One for depression and one for anxiety. I want to get sedation when I have my dental procedure done but I’m worried they won’t let me. Can you tell me what sedation medications they use so I can make sure it’s fine with my medication? I’m afraid if I tell them about the meds they’ll send me away.

Lisa W.

Dear Lisa,

Dental Sedation

The problem with your request is two-fold. One, every dentist uses different sedation medication so there would be no way to know whether or you’d be checking the right medication. Second, your dosages make a difference as to how much the dentist can give you. I know you’re worried about being sent packing, but that won’t happen.

Dentists who deal with anxious patients are used to patients on multiple medications. The only thing you’ll need to do is schedule a consultation with your dentist so he or she can make sure whatever they use will work well with what you’re taking.

If what they use would interfere they will either change what they use or make arrangements with another dentist who prefers the other medicine to work with you.

Dental anxiety is common and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed by it, but what you’re doing is brave. You’re facing your fears to get the treatment you need. That puts you ahead of many patients who can’t do that and then end up with a dental emergency.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Can I Have Dental Sedation If I’m on Medication for PTSD?

I’ve served in the military for 12 years. I loved my service and the military dentists did the best job they could, but they’re designed to do patch jobs and get us back into service as quickly as possible. A lot needs to be fixed with my mouth, functionally and cosmetically. Unfortunately, I’m being treated for PTSD. If there are people over me, I lash out. I’m going to need sedation dentistry, but don’t know if I can with the PTSD meds I’m on. Any advice?

Allen H.

Allen,

Up front, I want to thank you for your service. You’re keeping our family’s safe. I am beyond grateful. Our country owes you a debt. Don’t think for one second you’re not appreciated. Secondly, the fact that you’re getting treatment for PTSD shows you’re not just brave, but intelligent and wise.

Sedation dentistry will be a great option for you in this situation and can be used with many medications. I recommend getting with the dentist ahead of time and discussing your medications. That way he or she can plan to use medications which have no contraindications with the medications you’re on.

Make sure you tell the dentist that you’re interested in cosmetic work, too. This will enable them to make the best decisions and give you all the options. There are some treatments which if you plan on doing teeth whitening at any point, you’ll want to have it done first. Things like porcelain crowns and fillings cannot be whitened after they’re bonded.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Can You Die From Dental Sedation?

I keep reading these stories about patients who’ve died during sedation. It’s starting to freak me out. I’m  scheduled to get my wisdom teeth extracted and planned on using sedation to make this go easier. I’m an anxious patient even when I just go in for cleanings. Now, I’m a wreck and not sure what to do. Can I die from this?

Laura M. – Alabama

Laura,

Let me put your mind at ease. While there are risks with any procedure, it is extraordinarily rare for patients to die from dental sedation. And, most of the time when they do, it’s usually those patients who were put under anesthesia.

It’s more likely the type of sedation you’ll get is oral conscious sedation. This doesn’t lower your respiratory functions the way anesthesia does. You’ll be conscious, but completely relaxed. This allows the numbing medication to do its job giving you a pain-free experience.

If you’re an anxious patient, it will be important you get the medication. Dental anxiety tends to increase your metabolism causing you to burn through the numbing medication.

Talk to your dentist about your concerns. Ask about what type of monitoring they do. You can ask them to have oxygen on hand and monitor your heart, though many sedation dentists do this as a matter of course.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

I Got Sick at My Sedation Dentist

I am kind of embarrassed. I think I ruined my dental appointment. I’ve been avoiding the dentist, so he called me to ask what the problem was. I told him I’ve been having some anxiety issues. He suggested sedation dentistry. I agreed and felt pretty comfortable. My appointment was scheduled for two. He told me not to eat. I thought I’d be fine, but around 10 I got super hungry.  I just had a candy bar and was sure it would be out of my tummy by my appointment. But, when I got the sedation, I vomited. I was too embarrassed to tell my dentist I ate. He rescheduled.  Do you think it was the eating or something else?

Loriee E. – Denver

Loriee,

It was likely the sedation that’s a problem. The medicine makes you a little woozy. When you add food to that, you’re just asking to vomit.  Many dentists won’t treat you if they know you’ve eaten because they worry about aspiration.

You’ll like sedation once it’s done with an empty stomach. It will completely change how you feel about dentistry.

If you have a high metabolism and it’s hard for you to go a long time without eating, you may tell them it’s important to schedule you in the morning.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Will Sedation Let Me Get ALL My Dental Work Done?

I hate dentists. Hate them.  I’ve not gone in a while and as a result I need a lot of work.  Here’s the breakdown:

1 tooth pulled, 3 Dental Crowns. 1 Root Canal

Is it possible to get this all done at once?

Drew – Minnesota

Drew,

It sounds like you’ve had some really bad experiences at the dentists. I assuming you know about sedation dentistry and that is why you’re asking if it can get done in one visit.

Depending on the dentist and how much work he’s willing to do at once, it’s possible to get at least most of it done in one sitting. It may take two. Either way, you won’t feel a thing.

Sedation is designed to give you a completely pain free dental experience. You may not even remember the procedures.  You may even find a way to, if not enjoy, at least no longer hate going to the dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

I Need to Find a Dentist Who Is Nice to Anxious Patients

I used to have a great dentist. He was so patient and kind. He knew I am a little anxious about dental work and would slow down when I needed him to and always explained what he was doing.  Well,…he retired. The young fella’ that took over his practice isn’t nearly as patient. In fact, he gets short with me sometimes. He’s made me dread coming.  Is there a way to finding a kind dentist without having to go to a bunch of duds first?

Elizabeth – Denver

Elizabeth.

We’ve always heard that we have to kiss a few frogs before we find our prince. Fortunately, in the dental world, there are some “code words” that can help you narrow down which frogs to try.

Dentists who value and understand anxious patients generally put something on their website to help patients recognize they’ll feel safe in their office.

When you do a web search, use key words such as “Sedation Dentist” “Sedation Dentistry”, “Gentle Dentist”, and “Cater to Cowards Dentist”.

Any one of these dentists are willing to work with anxious patients.  It doesn’t mean all of them will be a great fit for you personally, but you’ll have a much better chance with them.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Is sedation dentistry like having surgery?

I have severe anxiety issues. Is sedation dentistry like having surgery where you’re out?

Drew A. – Missouri

Drew,

It really depends on the dentist. They all have different sedation procedures they prefer to do. Some dentists do an IV Sedation where you are pretty much out during the procedure.

Most do something called oral conscious sedation. Though it doesn’t knock you out, many patients prefer it.  You still have control. If you want to say something, you can, but the appointment is completely pain free.

Most patients find that they don’t even remember the appointment. Plus, you need to be aware that you’re so relaxed you need to have someone drive you to and from the appointment.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.

Scared of Sedation Because of News Stories

I finally talked myself into going to the dentist by using sedation (It will be my first time in sixteen years) and now I keep seeing all these news stories about patients being sexually assaulted.  Now I’m afraid to go.

Cyndy M. – New Jersey

Cyndy,

I understand you’re frightened. These type of stories are very scary.  Though it may not mean much to you now, I will tell you that these type cases are very rare. Most dentists ( and their staff) went into the field in orderto help people. They have no interest in doing harm.

Sedation is a great way to get your dental care done, pain free, especially  if you have dental anxiety. Generally, dentists have someone else in the room with them during sedation for their own protection. That way they can’t be accused of anything.

However, one thing you can do to put your mind at ease is to bring a friend.  Talk to the dentist about your concern. They’ll likely be able to accomdate your friend to be there with you.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Why can’t I get numb?

I’ve been to the dentist twice to get a procedure done, but he hasn’t been able to get me numb.  We end up abandoning the procedure.  What’s the deal?

Danny B. – New Jersey

Danny,

It’s possible that you have some form of dental anxiety, even without realizing it.  That can cause your body to burn up the anesthetic before it has a chance to really take effect.

Sometimes using something as simple as nitrous oxide will relax you enough for the numbing medicine to take effect.  If that doesn’t work, you’ll need a stronger type of dental sedation.

I would go to a sedation dentist and let them know what is going on. You will likely have your first completely pain free dental appointment, which should really help with that anxiety.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.