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  1. #1

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    Sedation Dentistry -- anyone done this?

    I have a great (and yes I know irrational, but until u lived in my head, ya just don't know! ) fear of going to the dentist. Embarrassing to admit, but I haven't been to a dentist in about 12 years because of it. I saw an ad in my local area for a dentist who advertises he uses IV Sedation for dentistry procedures, mainly because of the fears people have of going to the dentist. Has anyone done this? Anyone here a dentist or dental assistant and have an opinion about it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BaileyCatts View Post
    I have a great (and yes I know irrational, but until u lived in my head, ya just don't know! ) fear of going to the dentist. Embarrassing to admit, but I haven't been to a dentist in about 12 years because of it. I saw an ad in my local area for a dentist who advertises he uses IV Sedation for dentistry procedures, mainly because of the fears people have of going to the dentist. Has anyone done this? Anyone here a dentist or dental assistant and have an opinion about it?
    I have not had sedative dentistry, but I empathize with that fear of the dentist. I wanted to try it, believe me, a few years ago, but I was forced to go the regular route and was grateful to find a dentist who was sympathetic and understood my "irrational" fear. A toothache has got to be worse than labor! I hadn't been to the dentist in 15 years or so because of my fear, and I am paying for that now. That's how long it took my sister to talk me into trying her dentist--she's as scary as I am, but I didn't believe her.

    I am almost 40 years old and I just recently started having issues; thank God for decent genes. My dentist was great; I had my first root canal and didn't feel anything before or after. She basically held my hand through the entire process. Now, I need to go back and have some more work done and my crappy group plan doesn't cover much of anything, so I am having to wait.

    Before trying sedative dentistry, have you talked with other people and gotten some recommendations about a good dentist? Sedative dentistry is really expensive and most plans don't cover it. I had an oral surgeon tell me that he was going to charge me $300 to put me to sleep to pull one wisdom tooth. That was just for the sedative, not the cost of the extraction. That was maybe 5 years ago--I can only imagine what he'd charge today. At the time, I couldn't afford it, and in the end, I went with the happy gas and was okay. You might be pleasantly surprised. But, I totally understand and respect your decision if you would rather not. But the key is to be constantly letting the dentist know when you feel anything. I had a fear, but I was also sensitive to hot/cold (even as a kid, I never could bite a popsicle), and she helped with that also during my procedure. The best incentive in the world for me finding another job is to get a better dental plan!!!!
    Last edited by FiveRinger; 07-07-2011 at 07:52 PM.
    The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are--Joseph Campbell

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    A girl that I used to work with who was deathly afraid of going to the dentist, had that done. She was very thankful for it.

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    I haven't been to the dentist for maybe five years due to fear. I just can't handle any of it. I have considered the sedation route, but have never tried it due to the money.

    I find the dental assistants worse than the dentist himself. Throughout my teens, my mother made me go and I always had dental assistants who told me I was irrational and stupid and needed to grow up. It didn't matter that my mother and I both told them and the dentist what was going on, or if it was a different assistant each time...they were still nasty about my fear. It is bad enough to go at all and then to get treated like an idiot over the fear makes it worse.

    Later, I ended up going to a dentist whose wife worked with my mom and was a good friend of hers. Mom's friend would always see to making sure my appointment was with a certain assistant who was sympathetic and the dentist himself didn't seem so scary as he was someone I already knew outside the dental office. But that assistant moved away and I haven't been back to the dentist since I heard that.

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    Do people have a fear of just getting their teeth cleaned?

    Anyway, I was sedated once for a tooth extraction and it was great! They stuck a needle in me and next thing I know I'm being wheelchaired to the car. I didn't have any bad side effects.
    Last edited by El Rey; 07-07-2011 at 08:13 PM.

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    This is the first I've heard of it, and I'm very interested! I'm fine with IV's, vaccine shots, etc. But when it comes to teeth, I have an enormous fear of being pricked.

    Do they actually put you to sleep? For a major procedure, they gave me laughing gas, and it did absolutely nothing. Nothing. The dentist said some people just don't react to it.

    I take a prescription anti-anxiety medication before going to the dentist, but it's not nearly enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by El Rey View Post
    Do people have a fear of just getting their teeth cleaned?
    I have sensitive teeth, and the cleanings can be very unpleasant, not to mention long.

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    The new hygienist where I go, flossed my teeth so hard, that all my gums were bleeding and hurt when I left. She also went on and on about the importance of flossing and how she nags her boyfriend to floss. I haven't been back, since. I need to find a new dentist.

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    I have been thinking about doing this. I don't know if I would do the IV sedation but I want to find someone to at least use the gas on me. I haven't been to the dentist in about 10 years. I am horrified, absolutely petrified, of anything involving teeth.
    -Brian
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    I am extremely phobic of dentists, and did not go for several years because of that. For over 12 years, the two times I found a good dentist, one decided to move to a different state, and the other I had to leave when we were transferred back to here from Seattle.

    I had IV Valium sedation when I was 19, but that was when my wisdom teeth (3 of which were deeply impacted) were removed. Part of my fear/loathing of dentists is from that whole experience - I kept waking up during the procedure every time I heard/felt bone cracking , and they ended up having to pump me with 5mg every ten minutes at one point to keep me sedated enough for several parts of the procedure. When he was done, the doc told my mother to go have lunch in the restaurant in the lobby because (in his eyes) I'd been given so much of that stuff I was going to be out for at least an hour. He didn't finish the sentence before I was in the doorway behind him, mouth packed with cotton, saying I wanted to go home. The doc and one of his assistants about freaked that I was upright and coherent, albeit with a slight buzz similar to maybe having 3 beers, but that's it. It wore off very quickly and before the prescribed painkillers kicked in, and the pain during that gap was absolutely insane.

    The worst part about it was that 6 weeks after that, when I was back in school and far away from his office, I still couldn't open my mouth wide at all without some major pain. By poking around in front of the mirror, I discovered that the dumbass forgot to remove two sets of sutures from the lower extractions . I ended up using some of my manicure tools to find/lift the sutures to where I could cut and remove them . As soon as they were out, my mouth/jaw was fine.

    ANYWAYS (sorry for the little detour up there ), now, I have a wonderful dentist who is sensitive to my fears. I'm okay with cleanings, but if I'm having anything done that requires a drill, she prescribes valium to take the night before and an hour before the procedure, plus I'm hooked up to the nitrous oxide. Along with that, I'll bring my iPod, which helps a lot. I have to have someone drive me to and from the office when this happens, but it's made it much less of a nightmare experience.

    I'd try something like that before choosing IV sedation. It's expensive, it can be dangerous, and should be used as a last resort (all MO, of course ).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazpacho View Post
    This is the first I've heard of it, and I'm very interested! I'm fine with IV's, vaccine shots, etc. But when it comes to teeth, I have an enormous fear of being pricked.

    Do they actually put you to sleep? For a major procedure, they gave me laughing gas, and it did absolutely nothing. Nothing. The dentist said some people just don't react to it.

    I take a prescription anti-anxiety medication before going to the dentist, but it's not nearly enough.

    I have sensitive teeth, and the cleanings can be very unpleasant, not to mention long.
    When I got my first two wisdom teeth pulled, the oral surgeon put me to sleep. He didn't want to fool with me at all since I hadn't been to the dentist in 10 years at that point and I was scared to death. At that time, they weren't so bad with the costs. It was great. They sprayed some cold stuff on my arm, stuck me, and I don't remember anything except them telling me, "FiveRinger, it's time to go home. You're all done!" I was eating White Castles 2 hours later.

    I'm really surprised to hear that laughing gas didn't do anything for you. I was high as hell. Of course, this was a different surgeon (the same one who was going to charge me $300 to put me to sleep to extract one tooth!). His assistants were great....they knew I was scared to death. He cranked that gas way up, numbed my gum and gave me the shot. I didn't feel a thing. I was proud after that one---I would have been so pissed to have to have paid $300 for essentially 10 mins. And the assistants told me I would be.

    Like I said, I totally understand the fear of someone drilling and working in your mouth. I can deal with needles, getting blood drawn, and all of that. But lack of funds forced me to find another alternative.

    And yes, the assistants are worse than the dentists. Although my dentist has said that she does give people gas and numb them to clean their teeth because of fear. I had a deep cleaning done that way. But they shouldn't be drawing blood.
    The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are--Joseph Campbell

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    I have had sedation dentistry. It isn't being put totally out. I've had that done too, for extractions when I was too chicken to have a root canal.

    Sedation dentistry was wonderful!!! I was as phobic as anyone above, and I had let my teeth get in terrible shape to where I wouldn't smile any more. And yes, people, it is terrifying just to have your teeth cleaned, because if you have sensitive teeth, that can hurt too. Plus, when they clean your teeth they just always happen to find another few million dollars worth of stuff you need to have done.

    So, I found this fabulous dentist who is also a sponsor for the ballet company. I had my front teeth filed down and crowns put on. It was a 5 hour process which did include cleaning and gum something or other. Here's what happened:

    -30 minutes before I was supposed to arrive, I took a Halcyon pill. My husband drove me to the dentist's office. By this time I was woozy but not nervous and could take direction, walk, etc. The first part was the cleaning and gum thing. (They had already done extensive x-rays in prior visits.) Then the dentist gave me another halcyon (I think they were small ones...never had them before.) I also had laughing gas (what IS the name of that stuff? I know it...) Then they did the big work. I also had a tooth pulled in lieu of a root canal, with the hope that I will get implants in the future.

    I slept through most of it, but I was absolutely in no pain, anxiety, or anything.Of course they also used novacaine. But, the dentist could talk to me, tell me to turn my head, etc. I could take simple directions. By the time it was over, I had started coming back more, and I walked under my own power out the door.

    This absolutely and totally cured me of my phobia! Since then I have had a root canal and crown under just regular circumstances, and it was nothing. I probably need another one soon, and I have absolutely no anxiety about it other than the cost!

    I highly recommend doing this. If anyone is in the north Georgia area and wants to know the name of my dentist, just PM me.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by El Rey View Post
    Do people have a fear of just getting their teeth cleaned?
    It's a range of fears/phobias for different people. Some people are scared of any potential pain or discomfort and other people are scared that their teeth are in such poor shape (or haven't been in so long) that they will be chastised by the dentist and so they put off going. Even something as simple as a cleaning can cause incredible panic in some people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FiveRinger View Post
    I'm really surprised to hear that laughing gas didn't do anything for you. I was high as hell.
    Me too! LOVED it!!!




    "Marge, if you're going to get mad at me every time I do something stupid, then I guess I'm just going to have to stop doing stupid things!" - Homer Simpson in the Mr. Plow episode

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    Part of my phobia is blood. I can deal with other people bleeding but my own blood sends me to the ground. Since I haven't been to the dentist in so long and I don't floss enough, my gums tend to bleed, especially the first time I floss if I haven't done it in a while. I know my gums will bleed like crazy when I get a cleaning (they floss much harder than I would and that water pick will cause bleeding if it hits the gums) and the thought just makes me completely woozy.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

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    I, too, used to be afraid of going to the dentist, and I didn't go for about 10 years. I have always had great teeth but my gums weren't the best, and I didn't have any issues during that time period. The dentist I found (and who I am still with, 24 years later) had as his motto "We cater to cowards!" And they do. They would give you a walkman with music to listen to, and I remember him telling me the first time I was there that if the cleaning hurt they would use a topical anesthetic. I've had the same hygienist the whole time, too. Since then, I've had 2 or 3 cavities that he has filled with no problem. Only once did I need novocaine, and he gives the shot so slowly (and sprays first with a topical anesthetic) that there is no buildup in pressure and so it doesn't hurt. And he waits until everything is numb before drilling. I love my dentist and have recommended him to a lot of people, and everyone still goes to him. Recently, his son joined him in his practice and he's very good too --both have a very light touch. One day, I was waiting for my regular dentist and his son walked in. He must have known my history, so to speak, because when I said to him, "You're not the right Dr. xxxx" he laughed and said no, and introduced himself, and sat and talked to me for several minutes before ever looking in my mouth.

    So... ask around, find someone that others recommend. If the dentist is skilled enough and patient enough, he or she can do the work without hurting you. I think maybe sometimes they're too impatient and that's the problem. I had almost all my baby teeth pulled because they just wouldn't fall out, and they usually knocked me out with peppermint flavored gas, and I always had very strange dreams that I didn't like at all, and to this day I really don't like peppermint candy.

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    dental hygienists can be very good - mine certainly is. So not all assistants are bad or mean. If your dentist doesn't have a good hygienist - talk to him/her about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Holley Calmes View Post
    I also had laughing gas (what IS the name of that stuff? I know it...) .
    Nitrous Oxide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    dental hygienists can be very good - mine certainly is. So not all assistants are bad or mean. If your dentist doesn't have a good hygienist - talk to him/her about it.
    Yes. Your dentist--and by extension their hygienists--should be people you are comfortable with and whom you can trust. Dentists see patients with fears every day, so being honest about concerns/phobias/fears hopefully will give the dentist more knowledge to help. If you get a dentist who seems dismissive or not very understanding then it may be time to run.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by skipaway View Post
    Nitrous Oxide.
    Of course...visions of Steve Martin are dancing in my head...

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    ABSOLUTELY get recommendations. And if you don't like the dentist or the hygienists, say so, or go somewhere else. For years I loathed the dentist because afterward I felt like my gums had been beaten up. What helped? (1) I got a good dentist with fabulously thorough but GENTLE hygienists and (2) I got a Sonicare.

    wrt (2) I had been brushing wayyyyy too hard for years with a conventional toothbrush, which caused my gums to recede. Was looking at the prospect of grafting (eek). Sonicare (suggested by the awesome Dr Mike) cured that problem and I've never looked back.

    Take the time to get recommendations and talk to the dentist and his/her staff extensively. Their demeanor should clue you in to how seriously they'll take your phobia.

    BTW, Dr Mike had a "patient of the month" in his newsletter, and after we told him about brushing our puppy's teeth he HAD to have a pic. . . and printed it!

    Definitely a good idea to take care of this sooner rather than later--you might think it's just your teeth and gums, but bad dental health can harm the rest of your body as well (I know; I read this crap all the time as an editor!).

    Good luck!

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