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Sedation Dentistry -- anyone done this?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by BaileyCatts, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. BaileyCatts

    BaileyCatts Well-Known Member

    I have a great (and yes I know irrational, but until u lived in my head, ya just don't know! :yikes:) 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?
  2. FiveRinger

    FiveRinger Well-Known Member

    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: Jul 7, 2011
  3. Satellitegirl

    Satellitegirl New Member

    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.
  4. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. El Rey

    El Rey Well-Known Member

    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: Jul 7, 2011
  6. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. Satellitegirl

    Satellitegirl New Member

    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.
  8. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    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. :eek: I am horrified, absolutely petrified, of anything involving teeth.
  9. Cyn

    Cyn Well-Known Member

    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 :yikes:, 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 :mad:. I ended up using some of my manicure tools to find/lift the sutures to where I could cut and remove them :yikes: . As soon as they were out, my mouth/jaw was fine.

    ANYWAYS (sorry for the little detour up there :eek: ), 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 :yikes: 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 :shuffle: ).
  10. FiveRinger

    FiveRinger Well-Known Member

    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. :scream:
  11. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

    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. jamesy

    jamesy shut in

    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.
  13. Cheylana

    Cheylana Well-Known Member

    Me too! LOVED it!!!
  14. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

    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.
    FiveRinger and (deleted member) like this.
  16. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. skipaway

    skipaway Well-Known Member

    Nitrous Oxide.
  18. jamesy

    jamesy shut in

    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. :scream:
  19. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

    Of course...visions of Steve Martin are dancing in my head...
  20. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    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!
  21. Susan1

    Susan1 Well-Known Member

    I had IV sedation to have crowns done at my previous dentist several times. My current dentist doesn't have it, but they give me so much nitrous that I am practically unconscious. Can't drive myself home afterward. Mine is not just fear. I also have fibromyalgia which makes everything extra sensitive. And I have a small mouth, which means my nerve endings are closer together. I have to have a small amount of nitrous just to have my teeth cleaned.

    I don't know if you have dental insurance or not, but make sure IV sedation is covered in cases of "fear". My plan specifically states that that is not covered. I couldn't even have it for a root canal, which is the worst thing I've ever been through in my life, because it was not "surgery". Sorry, I'm not helping your fear here. You really should not put off going to the dentist because things will just get worse. And get all the drugs you can! LOL (I replied to the original post. Looking forward to reading the rest of the comments.)
  22. ~tapdancer~

    ~tapdancer~ Well-Known Member

    I had IV sedation for wisdom teeth extractions. But not for any other dental procedure I have had, including other extractions. The IV sedation is like "twilight sleep", you are vaguely aware of something going on but honestly you don't care. I recommend it if you are having a really painful procedure and it is covered by your insurance. Like Susan1 said, some insurance will not cover for that if it isn't surgical.
  23. AragornElessar

    AragornElessar Well-Known Member

    I have and it's a God Send for me, as freezing/nerve blocks/locals just do not work on me anymore. Now, it is part of the Family History on Dad's side, as his Mom had the same problem. However, it worked just fine until my kidneys shut down in the early 90's. Whether or not that was the *trigger*, we just don't know, but ever since...It just doesn't work.

    My Dentist is one of the nicest guys in the World and I don't know or want to know what kind of shape my teeth would be in now w/out him and his offering of IV Sedation. It's covered under the Disablity Pension here in Ontario, so thankfully that's not a problem. He has a rotating group of nurses who start the IV, give the meds and also monitor that everything goes the way it should.

    As I also have very touchy veins thanks to all of the various medical "adventures" I've had over the years, he also gives me a prescription for a "happy" pill to take an hour before the appointment along w/my antibiotics to help me relax. Which it does, but it still doesn't help getting that blasted thing in and started. As soon as that gets over and done w/, the blood pressure cuff and pulse oxymeter are put on me and after a couple of sets of readings, I get sent off to dreamland.

    The majority of the time, I don't remember anything until wake up either at my Sister's or in the van on the way home. Which can be very confusing at times, but considering the alternative, it's not that big a thing. I usually have something to eat not too long after I wake up and it's obvious that I'm w/it, woozy, but w/it. I do take it fairly easy for the rest of the day though and can also have a wee bit of an "anesthetic" hangover the next day. That doesn't always happen, but when it does, that's another day where I just take it very easy.

    It really has been a God Send for me and, as I said, I really don't want to think about what kind of shape my teeth would be in if IV Dental Sedation wasn't available to me. Good luck on making a decision to go through w/this option or not. :)
  24. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Yelp is a godsend for this exact reason! You can read reviews of dentists now before walking into one! I had bad dentists as a kid, my hygienists would even complain of migraines while working in my mouth. :yikes: Luckily in HS I've had nice dentists but the dentist I have now is even better because she takes the time to explain why my teeth are the way they are and what I can do to counteract. Unfortunately I was NOT blessed with good tooth genes, I really have to come in every 6 months for a cleaning, so I'd better be comfortable with my dentist!

    I did have IV sedation when I had my wisdom teeth extracted, because they were extremely impacted. It was glorious, although the IV itself was not glorious because they stuck me 5 times in both arms before they finally went to the gas to knock me out and then find a vein without hurting me. (I woke up with 13 holes in both my arms..) :lol: But one minute I was breathing in the gas, and the next minute they were telling me I was done! My mind was completely clear, but when I turned to get out of the chair, I immediately fell over. :rofl:
  25. mikey

    mikey ...an acquired taste

    I don't have an irrational fear of dentists, I have an irrational fear of doctors who go by their first name. I hate that.
  26. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

    The nitrous works for me. I actually look forward to it. :)
  27. Castlerock

    Castlerock Member

    I swear by it!!!

    I have had it done 4 times for root canals and crowns. I have a bad gag reflex and this totally helps with that. I "fall asleep" and then wake up sometime on the way home and all is well!! The only issue is my benefit plan doesn't cover it, but it is well worth the agony/stress of going to the dentist.

    I find it interesting that my fear of the dentist gets worse as I get older. Although now for teeth cleaning, I have the hygenist do it manually with a pick because I keep gagging on the water cleaning. They tend not to suction enough so I asked to hold the suction thingy myself. I don't even take my kids to the dentist - DH does that - since I don't want them to get my fear :)
  28. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    I had something like 10 years of orthodontia and never had a problem with that. It is the dentist. My fear is almost completely confined to cleanings. I panic. I typically have asthma problems while having the cleaning and have nausea before I go. I had all four wisdom teeth pulled separately without any fear. And I went to the orthodontist once or twice a month for ten years and never had any fear.

    When I was in elementary school, we had a dentist who became extremely ill and should have shut down his practice while recovering and did not. He became less than competent. Not knowing the situation, my mother took us for regular appointments. He had no hygienist at the time. He basically massacred my gums, left them bleeding, poked the pick into my cheek and my lip, and managed to knock brackets off my braces. The entire experience was a painful ordeal. I have had an irrational fear of the dentist ever since.

    I also have allergies and take antihistamines which dries out your mouth. I always went to the dentist in summer as a student and then a teacher. Then I was nagged to death by hygienists for not brushing or flossing well enough. When I was a college student, one read me the riot act that I would never get a job or marry because I didn't take care of my gums well enough and people care about that, and that it indicated irresponsibility that she was certain was reflected in my grades in college. Someone who is already fearful of having a pick shoved into their lips or cheek with the ill dentist doesn't need that additional crap poured on them. My dentist (that I have not been to for five years due to fear of a new hygienist) who is a family friend immediately- the first time he saw me in his office- noted that my gums are dry that time of year not for lack of brushing or flossing/gum disease but due to the antihistamines.
  29. Jasmar

    Jasmar Active Member

    I had IV sedation when I was 19, too (also for wisdom teeth). I didn't know they were going to put me out, so it was a little freaky, but also appreciated. However, in the months and years after the extraction, I began to have little memory fragments come back about the procedure - about the pulling and cracking, as someone upthread mentioned. That was super, hyper disturbing to me. I think that, phobia and all, I'd rather be completely asleep. But that probably isn't an option unless you're a zillionaire and can go to the hospital for your work. (I know I can't!)

    I do have dissociative disorder issues from severe trauma in childhood, which I've been told could contribute to why I began to remember the procedure in bits and pieces. Most people obviously don't have to deal with that :)
  30. Cyn

    Cyn Well-Known Member

    I was the one who posted upthread about being aware of certain parts of the oral surgery - I'm so sorry that you went through something similar. That experience, having already been extremely wary and in the beginning stage of having a :yikes: phobia of dentists, kicked mine into hyperdrive.

    My advice to everyone here is to please, please, please do not make the same mistake that I and many others who have posted did by avoiding going to the dentist for regular cleanings/exams. Because of that, I have had and am still having to pay dearly (both physically and financially) due to avoiding those bi-annual visits during which smaller problems that could have been easily fixed instead became irreversible damage requiring major dental work far more involved, painful, and expensive.

    Check around with people and get opinions. Interview dentists before agreeing to become their patient, making sure (politely) he or she understands that they are working for and on you and that is more important than how they may personally feel about it. If an assistant or hygienist is inept, let the dentist know so any problems can be addressed.

    As for overcoming fears, get a friend or a loved one sit with you (if it's allowed) and hold your hand/offer comfort and reassurance. Get the laughing gas. Get the iPod/earbuds with music you find to be relaxing and soothing (Pink Floyd DSOM or any really good trance [but not hard-hitting house] music works well for me, especially if I'm under Nitrous Oxide :inavoid: ). Get a happy pill like Valium or Halcyon. If that isn't enough, get the IV sedation (if that's what it takes). Try a frying pan to the head :p once you're settled in --- whatever it takes to get your butt in that dentist's chair sooner rather than later.

    ETA: I looked up "dental fear" on Wikipedia.

    I found part of this paragraph, with the bolded, and especially the underlined portion, especially interesting:

    Also interesting:

    From the Wiki entry, I also found the link to the following website:

    http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/. The main areas covered on this site include:

    Hopefully the above site can be of benefit to those of us who suffer from this phobia.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011