Category Archives: Sedation Dentistry

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.

 

 

Dentist or Oral Surgeon?

I’m going to honest and just admit I avoid the dentist. I had a filling fall out. I avoided the dentist. Then I needed a root canal treatment. I did get that, but it was rather traumatic. So, I didn’t go back for the crown. Now my tooth was hurting so badly that I had to go to a dentist again. Though I did go to a different dentist. He told me the tooth is too far gone and needs to be removed. However, he said it’s extensive enough that I may consider an oral surgeon because he’d have to cut through both gum and bone. I like the idea of it not costing as much going to the local dentist, but wonder if it’s not safe and that’s why he mentioned an oral surgeon.

Patty

Dear Patty,

Someone asleep from dental sedation

I hate it when dentists say stuff like this. It makes patients uneasy. They wonder if they’re being unsafe choosing the more financially feasible option for them. I don’t know if your dentist phrased it that way because he’s uncomfortable with the procedure and he was trying to steer you another direction or if he’s perfectly comfortable doing it and just giving you non-opinioned options.

I’d ask your dentist a few questions before making a decision:

  • How comfortable does he feel with the procedure?
  • Has he done this type of extraction before?
  • What type of sedation does he offer?
  • What are the roots like? Straight and tapered or twisted with knobs?

The Importance of a Sedation Dentist for You

Based on what you’ve described of your oral hygiene habits, you have dental anxiety. It’s not uncommon. However, it wreaks havoc on your oral health, as you’ve discovered. If you were comfortable going to the dentist when your filling first came out, you wouldn’t be facing this difficult extraction and then facing pricey tooth replacement options.

Dental Sedation will change your life. However, at your level of anxiety (and especially for your extraction procedure), you will need something stronger than just nitrous oxide. You will need oral conscious sedation. This is strong enough to allow you to sleep through the procedure.

You will be able to have stress-free dental appointments from now on and even get all your teeth back in shape.

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

General Anesthesia for Cavities?

I’m so worried right now. My two-year-old has two really large cavities. My dentist said it’s because I breastfeed her at night. I was curious about that because my pediatrician told me it was the best thing for her, even her teeth. But, now the dentist tells me she needs two possible crowns. He doesn’t think she’ll be able to do it so he’s suggesting general anesthesia. I can’t fathom it would be safe to do in a dental office. I don’t guess I can just leave them, but I don’t want to put her at risk.

Emily

Dear Emily,

It’s completely normal for you to be concerned about your child’s safety. I want to address a few things you brought up to bring you some peace of mind. First, is the cause of her cavities. I think either your pediatric dentist didn’t communicate well or you misunderstood what he meant. Breastfeeding does NOT cause cavities. Your pediatrician is right, breastfeeding is better all around for your daughter, including her teeth.

What he likely was trying to convey is that letting your child fall asleep breastfeeding (or bottlefeeding) is bad for their teeth. That’s because they stop sucking fully and the milk pools around their teeth.

Another issue would be how effectively you’re brushing her teeth. She’s too young to do it well herself even if she insists, as some children do. In addition to the two issues mentioned above, genetics play a factor. Though, the size of your daughter’s cavities means some extra brushing needs to be done.

Dental Sedation versus General Anesthesia

Your dentist likely isn’t doing general anesthesia in his office. It would more likely be done in a hospital with a full complement of caregivers, just like with general surgery. Surgery is routinely done on children while under general anesthesia and though there are risks with everything, is considered quite safe.

Dental sedation is different and would be suggested if your daughter was a little older. It is done in the dentist’s office. This is very effective with slightly older children. They will generally fall asleep but they’re not unconscious.

Either way, make sure someone will be monitoring your child’s vital signs all the way through the procedure.

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

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.