I need some advice. I am afraid of the dentist. I’ll happily admit that up front. However, I’m also the kind of patient who NEEDS to know what is happening to her. While I’m aware that I’m pretty high maintenance, I can’t help it. I have fear of the dentist and fear of being knocked out. The last dentist I went to tried to force sedation on me saying he only treats anxious patients when they have sedation. I ended up canceling. But, I need to find a dentist who will work with me. Are there options aside from being knocked out?
It was remarkably unfair of the dentist to make that type of demand on you. While it may be easier for HIM for you to have sedation, a compassionate dentist does what is easier for the patient. Most patient’s face anxiety due to worries over pain. Others, out of fear of what’s going to happen (such as yourself). Sometimes it’s both.
You want a dentist who is compassionate and works to find out what their patient’s fear triggers are.
To find that dentist, I’d do a search under the term “cater to cowards” dentist. These dentists are more willing to work with YOU. One thing you should be aware of is dental sedation is different from being unconscious.
How Dental Sedation Works
Most sedation dentists work with two levels of sedation:
This is a simple gas mixture, which used to commonly be called laughing gas. You will be completely awake, but relaxed. Its main benefit is to relax you enough where your anxiety doesn’t raise your metabolism and burn off the numbing medicine prematurely.
It has the added advantage of you being able to get on with your routine as soon as your procedure is done. They just change the gas to oxygen and you’re back to normal and free to go.
Oral Conscious Sedation
This is for those with serious anxiety, but is not a requirement unless you want it. You take a pill before your appointment which will completely relax you. The difference between this and sedation for a medical procedure is you are still conscious the whole time. You can hear the dentist and even respond to his question.
While most patients tend to sleep through the procedure, you don’t have to. You could stay awake throughout if you’d prefer.
A word of caution. You are so completely relaxed that you will be required to have someone drive you to and from your appointment. You’ll also want them to stay with you until the medication wears off.
This blog is brought to you by Huntsville Dentist Dr. Steve Murphree.