Category Archives: Cater to Cowards

Going to a sedation dentist because of anxiety is giving me anxiety!

I really don’t like the dentist, like really, really don’t like going to the dentist. My mom has suggested that I find a sedation dentist, but the thought of going to a dentist appointment and sleeping through the whole thing while a dentist I don’t know is working in my mouth is almost as scary to me as being awake.  With my anxiety, I just don’t understand how sedation is going to make it easier for me.

Alana, West Virginia

Dear Alana,

pleasant dentistrySedation dentistry was started with people like you in mind. It doesn’t matter whether your anxiety stems from a bad experience in the past with another dentist or it has just developed for another reason, sedation dentists are trained to help you have a good experience while taking care of your teeth.

What can a sedation dentist do for you?

To address your concerns about sleeping through the appointment, let’s paint you a picture of what the different options for sedation look like.

  • For someone who is a little nervous in the dentist’s chair, sometimes nitrous oxide (better known as laughing gas) is the perfect solution. Nitrous oxide is great because it works quickly and wear off quickly. The sedative is breathed in through a mask and you are awake throughout the appointment, but feel relaxed. There is no lasting effect that carries over after the appointment. You are alert and able to drive home.
  • For someone whose anxiety is more intense, oral conscious sedation is an option. With this route, an oral medication is taken before your appointment.  This medication allows you to be very relaxed. You are so relaxed that, although you are awake, you may feel like you were asleep. Because you are awake, you still respond to the dentist and can understand his instructions. Many patients have no recollection of the time in the chair. Because this medication has longer reaching effects, someone has to accompany you so they can take you home afterwards.
  • Most patients fit into the first two categories, so not every sedation dentist even offers the third option, which is sedation using an IV. This is for extreme cases of anxiety or other factors.

Visiting with a sedation dentist, sharing your concerns, and asking questions is a great first step. You can develop a plan that you are comfortable with so you can get the care you need for a great smile.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.

How long will I sleep after sedation at the dentist?

I hate going to the dentist. I haven’t had any one particular bad experience, but I get anxious just thinking about going. My fear of getting cavities is what has kept me going in for my cleanings every six months. Unfortunately, when I went in this week for my cleaning, they found a cavity I need to get filled. Now I’m freaking out. My mom suggests that I get sedated for the appointment, but how long will I sleep? Is it like the recovery room after surgery? I don’t have anyone who can take me home.

Jay, Fayetteville, AR

Dear Jay,

You are not alone in your fear of having cavities filled. Doctors who offer sedation dentistry understand that fear.  They can help you keep your mouth healthy while keeping you comfortable.

Understanding sedation dentistry

There is a notion that when you use sedation to get your dental work done that you are asleep for the visit. This isn’t usually the case. Your doctor will use medication to help you be relaxed and calm during the visit, but you will likely still be awake. It’s as if you are aware of what the dentist is doing, but you don’t care. You may not remember anything after the procedure. Because you are still awake for the work to be done, you can understand instructions from your dentist.

When the dentist is done, you may still feel a little groggy. That’s why it is required that you have someone there with you at your appointment to drive you home after. If you don’t have someone who can be with you, using nitrous oxide for your cavity may be a better option.

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, will give you a similar feeling of comfort for your appointment, but as soon as your procedure is done, the sleepy, groggy feeling goes away. Instead of being a pill you take, you breathe it in. This may be a better option for you to get your dental work done without being stranded at the dentist’s office.

Your best place to start is to speak to you dentist’s office about your options. That way you can understand before you go what to expect, what that appointment will look like for you, as well as costs. You’ll be able to ask any questions you have.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.

 

 

I’m too scared to go to the dentist

I know I need to go to the dentist, but everytime I think about scheduling an appointment, I start shaking. My last appointment was like a medieval torture session. Is there something I can take to make this hurt less without interfering with the local?

Deidre K. – Pasadena, CA

Deidre,

I’m sorry your last appointment was so unpleasant. It is not uncommon for people with a difficult dental experience to develop a form of dental anxiety. That seems to be what you’re going through.

There is something you can take. Most dentists who practice sedation dentistry can give you a pill for oral conscious sedation. A lot of those dentists like treating fearful patients. They want to help them get past their fear. They’ll even call it catering to cowards.

I’d call around to see if you can find a dentist like that in your area.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. John Theriot.