I’m a coward and it’s costing me my smile

I’ll be the first to admit that even just a simple reminder message on my phone from the dentist can make my heart race and my palms sweat. I know it’s stupid, but I can’t seem to push past my fear and often end up calling in and making some excuse to cancel my appointment. I brush my teeth daily… so I don’t really need to see the dentist, right? That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway. Everything was going just fine until about a month ago. That’s when I had an old filling break and fall out of my tooth, and unfortunately, a few weeks later the tooth broke. I’m not gonna lie… it was painful. But I brushed it off hoping it would get better on its own because I just didn’t have the courage to go to the dentist. When the pain became too much to handle, I hesitantly made an appointment and my dentist did a root canal. I survived, but I was just glad to get it done, get out of there and hopefully never have to go back. He never followed up and neither did I, so the procedure never got finished. Now, the temporary filling has fallen out, the tooth is almost gone and I’m afraid I have an infection. I found a new dentist and he is definitely in agreement that the tooth is infected. He’s saying to have it pulled and he’s also pretty sure that the tooth will be difficult to remove because they’ll have to cut into my gums and bone. This is not something a coward like...

Is a panic attack common after sedation?

Hey there! My name is Alex and I love your blog. Not long ago, I had a dental surgery and I think my sedation dentist may have done something wrong. I take great care of my teeth because because I smile a lot in my line of business. I see my dentist for regular checkups and have never had any kind of problems with him. I’m not new to surgeries — in fact, this one was very similar to my last one, however, after I got home everything went down hill. First, I started feeling nauseous and vomited. After that, I felt like I was going to pass out, and I was having trouble breathing — almost as if I was having a panic attack. I’d never had one before, but when I looked it up, it described perfectly what I was feeling. I thought about seeing the doctor, but I eventually got better. Something else could have caused this, but I’m pretty sure it was something involving my surgery and my dentist administered the medication wrong. I’ve read online that these risks exist with dental sedation. I’ve had four dental surgeries and never had this happen to me, but I’m concerned it could happen again. If it does, what do I do? Do I call 911 or should I wait and let it pass? As I said, I love your blog. It helps out a lot with everything involving dentists and I turn to it whenever something about them is concerning me. Thank you for your help. — Alexi Alexi, Glad to hear the blog has been helpful...

Can I have sedation if I’m already on anxiety & depression meds?

I take several different medications to help me with anxiety and depression. I need to have some extensive dental work done here soon, but I’m afraid my dentist will exclude me from having sedation because of the meds. I honestly don’t think I can get through the appointment without it. I’ve done a little research on my own to see if my medications would interact with what dentists use. I’ve even thought about not telling the dentist about my meds right away in hopes that I won’t get turned down.  — Sammi   Sammi, You can do all the research you want, but there is no way to know what sedation medication your dentist will uses unless you call the office and specifically ask. You’ll find that each dentist uses different medications — they have their own reasons for doing so. Dentists who treat patients with fear and anxiety should be very familiar with what you’re going through. While some patients have specific dental phobias, most have generalized anxiety and already take something to help with it. Before your appointment, make a list of your medications and how much/often you take them. Your dentist will definitely want to review the list to make sure there is no chance of overdose or contraindications. If he foresees an interaction between the meds he uses and what you take, I’m sure he’ll do his best to come up with an alternate plan. If he absolutely can’t make it work, he should have a list of other doctors he can refer you to. Call the office and see if it’s possible to send...

My parents refuse to take me to a sedation dentist

I’m almost 17 and I really feel like I need to see a sedation dentist. My parents have never taken me to the dentist- not even once in seventeen years! For the last year or so, a few of my teeth have been hurting off and on. It seems to be worse when I eat or drink something cold. I’m not sure, but I think I can actually see a couple of cavities, but they’re brownish and I thought a cavity would be black. I don’t know. Lately, I think it’s my wisdom teeth hurting me. I get these terrible pains in my jaw and I think I can see the tooth coming up under the gums. I told my mom about it but she says I’m too young and tells me I’m just trying to get attention or something. My friend just saw a sedation dentist for her wisdom teeth, which is the only reason I brought up sedation in the first place. Isn’t that what people normally do? How can I convince my parents that this is something I need? — Becca   Becca, It’s a shame your parents aren’t hearing you out. A lot of the time, when parents aren’t receptive to their children’s dental needs, it’s either because they weren’t brought up in a household that valued preventative dental care or simply because they’re low income and are afraid they can’t afford the care. Please print this out or send your parents a link. Preventative dental care is an essential part of total health. Dental problems are linked to diabetes, heart disease, and a myriad...

Can I “pop some pills” and sleep through my dental appointment?

I am the worst dental patient ever – and that is no joke! My fear and anxiety is so bad that I haven’t even stepped into a dental office in years. When I think about it, it literally makes me feel physically sick. My heart races, my palms sweat… it really is ridiculous. I’m in a lot of pain and having to make an emergency appointment which I am drading. I’m scared to death about what they will find and mostly panicked about the thought of trying to get me numb. I take Xanax occasionally to help with anxiety and there’s no doubt that this dental appointment has got me worked up. I want to take it before I go in for my appointment to take the edge off. Is that ok? — Michael   Michael, Dental fear is real and you can rest assured that you are not alone. Kudos to you for pushing past that fear and making an appointment, but don’t be too hard on yourself for the anxiety you’re feeling leading up to getting there. Today’s dentists recognize dental fear and many now specialize in helping treat patients like you. Often times, they are referred to as “Cater to Cowards” dentists. There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about if you fall into this category. If you take anxiety meds prescribed by your doctor, there is really no reason why you couldn’t take it for this appointment. It should not affect your treatment, just be sure to tell the office/dentist what you took. Be completely honest about your dental fear because they will be able...

No laughing matter… nitrous oxide made my daughter sick!

My daughter just turned four a few months ago and unfortunately needed to have some extensive dental work done. She’s never been really good at the dentist and like many kids her age, she’s wiggly and has some anxiety about having the dentist look at her teeth. Our dentist suggested we try nitrous oxide to help her get through the fillings, so we decided to give it a shot. She did great for most of the appointment, but then all of the sudden she started feeling sick and threw up. She felt pretty bad the rest of the day. What made her sick? I’m worried that the nitrous was not safe for her even though our dentist said it was fine. — Sonya   Sonya, That’s certainly not a fun way for your daughter to remember that appointment – and hopefully it doesn’t make her anxiety worse. Despite what happened to her, nitrous oxide is very safe for use on children and is one of the best choices when it comes to mild sedation – especially for kids. It’s often referred to as “laughing gas” because it makes patients feel happy and relaxed. Dentists who use it are specially trained and it is monitored the entire appointment to ensure patient safety. Did your daughter eat a regular meal before heading to the appointment? It’s not uncommon for kids to feel sick, and/or vomit while inhaling nitrous, but if they have a full stomach it can be much worse. Your dentist should have specified only eating a light meal before the appointment. Typically when patients feels sick while inhaling the...