Afraid I did something weird during sedation dentistry.

It had been entirely too long since I had been to the dentist and I needed a ton of dental work. So I decided to get sedation dentistry. It took several visits, even with sedation dentistry, but it needed to be done. So everyone at the office was super nice and helpful. They didn’t judge me, even though I was freaking because I heard about how much work was required. I just tried to stay upbeat and persevere. Well, I managed to work through everything just fine and everyone was incredibly helpful. Well, when I went back for a regular check up a few months later, the staff was really stand-offish with me. I felt like they were totally talking about me behind my back. Did I do something bazaar or offensive while under sedation?

-Ben in Texas


If you are in a good mood, which it sounds like you were a good sport despite the large amount of work that was being done, the staff likely reciprocated your attitude. If patients are having fun and open, they will do the same.

It is possible you weren’t as relaxed or outgoing as the last time around and they staff sensed it. Don’t jump to conclusions. It is probably nothing at all. Dental hygienists and sedation dentists have absolutely seen everything! If there was something particularly bazaar, someone would have discussed the matter. But you have no reason to think that way.

Just go in with that same, happy, easy-going attitude at your next appointment and they will likely sense it. Don’t over analyze the situation. Glad to hear the sedation dentistry and all the appointments were successful in getting you back on track with regular care.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.


Desperately looking for affordable dental implants.

I have been sick most of my adult life. I have suffered from Crohn’s Disease and firbromyalgia. Sadly, my teeth were the least of my worries. I didn’t take care of them at all. Now that my medications have leveled out and are helping me feel better (finally) I realize my oral health is terrible. My teeth are falling out, pretty much. I hide my mouth when talking or smiling so people don’t stare too long. I’m so embarrassed about this because I know it could have been prevented. I just wasn’t on my radar when I could hardly move from extreme physical illness. So now I want to get my teeth fixed. A friend told me to go to Mexico to get dental implants. But that’s not sitting right with me. Is there anywhere in the US where I can get affordable dental implants?

-Paul in Nevada


Sorry to hear you have had such difficult health struggles. The good news is that you are starting to feel better physically. Many people with long-term illnesses have found that the medications negatively impact their oral health for one reason or another. Some medications cause dry mouth which increases tooth decay. So now it’s time to find a solution to get you smiling again!

You are probably feeling reluctant about traveling to Mexico for good reason. It is not a good way to go. In the United States we have strict regulations on dental care. Also, the dentists here want to protect their reputation and stand by their work. You can’t really do much if something goes wrong with dental work done in Mexico. They don’t have the stringent regulations and protocols in place to ensure a safe experience either. Even though it may be a lot cheaper and you may be able to find affordable dental implants, it’s simply not worth the risk and long-term potential damage to your health, or extra expense to correct problems.

Dental implants are expensive. But there are affordable dental implant options available in the United States. You may be a candidate for mini implants. These implant abutments are much smaller, making the procedure to place them much simpler, and the healing time shorter. All those things contribute to them being much more affordable, like half price. But not everyone is a candidate.

What is most important is selecting an implant dentist that you trust. Implants dentistry is not a recognized specialty area within the field of dentistry. Therefore, any dentist can claim to be an implant dentist without any extra training. So even though having them done in the US is wiser than Mexico, you still need to do some research on the dentist you choose. Many implant dentists will cut corners to keep their fees low, but they may compromise on materials or cut corners in their work. Proceed with caution. But don’t lose heart, when you find the right dentist, affordable dental implants can be a reality.

One last thought. Once you select the right dentist, be sure to communicate what medications you are taking and coordinate care with your physician. This will help ensure the best experience for you all the way around. Best of luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Why isn’t their a dental ER?

I have never been in so much pain as I was with a recent toothache. The tooth was infected and I could hardly talk, couldn’t sleep, and definitely couldn’t eat. My mom told me to go to the emergency room and it was a fat waste of time. The ER gave me Tylenol and sent me home.

-Bart in Michigan

Yes, an infected tooth can be one of the most painful experiences you may have ever endured. An emergency room treats life threatening conditions. So, even though you were in extreme pain, they likely deemed that your condition could be treated by your normal dentist.

Sometimes an emergency room will prescribe pain medication or get you started on an antibiotic to help subside your ailments until you can seek regular care. Some emergency rooms are staffed with an oral surgeon or may have a dentist on call. So the simple answer is that since a toothache isn’t “life threatening” they will not treat the need in the ER.

Now, your regular dentist likely has a dental emergency policy. You can call after hours or on the weekend and the voicemail is typically monitored. Or sometimes they will provide a separate after-hours emergency dentist number or protocol. Now if you for some reason do not have a regular dentist, you can search for an “emergency dentist” with your city name. You will likely turn out dentists that can accommodate your needs. Many times these dentists will not require you to be a patient of record. Hopefully that provides some clarification. Thank you for your question.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

My mom’s dentures are gross looking. Can they be whitened?

My mom is in her eighties and has had her dentures for a long time. She really doesn’t want to buy new ones at her age. What can be done to whiten them? Every time I call a dentist about it, they saw to buy a new set. I want her to feel good when she smiles.

-Paul in Minnesota


That is a good question, but you may not like the answer. Unfortunately, dentures cannot be whitened. They are typically made of acrylic or in some cases porcelain. If they have become stained over the years, there are some denture products that help to remove the stains. But the coloration will not whiten from the  original shade. For example B-1 is bright white, whereas A-2 is a more natural look. But at this point, the color she chose originally is the color she will have, because they don’t whiten with bleach like natural teeth. Some dental offices have ultra-sonic cleaners that may help with stubborn staining.

The only way to get a whiter set of dentures is to get them replaced. And it sounds like your mother isn’t interested in getting a new set, which is understandable. She is probably well adapted to her current set and wouldn’t enjoy getting re-fitted and going through the process and expense of a new set.

Wish there was better news for her!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Can the Sedation Dentist Knock Me Out the First Visit?

I’m not really a dentalphobe. I mean, I’m not any more afraid of the dentist than the next guy, I guess. What really bothers me is the smugness of the staff. I haven’t been to the doctor in awhile, and yes, my teeth are bad. Okay, I get it. I don’t need a lecture. What I’d really like to do is to see a sedation dentist and get all of my work done right on the first visit. I called around and everyone’s giving me a hard time, saying the dentist needs to see me first. If I can afford to have all the work done at once, why won’t they just do it?

-Sam in Texas

Dear Sam,

All dental practitioners have a responsibility to their patients to ensure they receive the best possible care and understand what’s happening. This is especially true with sedation dentists, as their patients are unable to competently consent to treatment while under the influence of sedatives. A doctor must also review your full medical history before prescribing anything to ensure the medications he normally uses are safe for you. Aside from this, sedatives are routinely abused, so doctors do not prescribe them unless they have an established record of care. This is why the offices you are speaking with have been declining your request.

As a rule of thumb, most dentists will want to meet you at least once first, before starting any treatment. This gives them a chance to make a proper diagnosis and make sure you can knowingly consent to care. The doctor may not even keep sedatives in the office. Some rely primarily on medications that you will have to pick up from the pharmacy, while others may bring in an anesthesiologist to help during these types of procedures. At the very least, most offices will assign an assistant to remain with you the entire time you’re sedated, which requires planning out the schedule well in advance. In other words, you may be ready to start, but a lot of things must be managed by the office in order to make your visit go smoothly when you visit a sedation dentist.

It’s sad that you’ve had poor luck with judgmental offices. Most dental teams are understanding of circumstances and genuinely want to help you smile again. Those who practice sleep dentistry often are more attuned to this, because so many of their patients have been where you are now. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to be medicated for your initial visit. When you find the right office, they will be sympathetic of your situation and willing to work with you in any way they can.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Is a Periodontist or Oral Surgeon the Best Implant Dentist?

I’m more than a little bewildered here. I thought that there was only one kind of doctor, a specialist, who would perform the procedure and be the best implant dentist. Now I hear that a general dentist, a periodontist, or an oral surgeon can do it. Is it better to choose one over the other? I’m trying to get a definitive answer before I schedule, and each office I call tells me that they’re superior for one reason or another.


Phil in Illinois

Dear Phil,

This is a great question. Technically, there are only nine specialties recognized by the American Dental Association, and implant dentistry is not one of them. What this means is that any dentist can perform the procedure, provided he has adequate training.

The best implant dentist for you may be any one of the three doctors you spoke with, or a combination of two. Because they are done in stages, your regular dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon or a periodontist for the surgical portion, and then may finish the restoration in his office. On the other hand, any of them may see you through the entire process on his own.

If they all sound good to you and you’re unsure which one to choose, try asking them some of the following questions:

  • How many dental implant cases have you, personally, handled?
  • How many of these restorations have failed? (They tend to have a 98-99% success rate, so the doctors are likely to remember how many have had issues.)
  • How many continuing education courses, or hours have you logged, studying the procedure?
  • How long have you been performing this procedure?
  • How long have you been in practice?

These call all be helpful to know if you’re trying to determine the skill-level of the doctor. After all, it can be the largest deciding factor in whether your treatment is successful or not. You can also ask around to friends and family, to see if any of them have had the procedure done, and ask for a referral if it went well. Review sites, like Yelp, can also provide a wealth of information.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

I hate the dentist! Any way to get past my fear?

I feel silly even talking about this because I know it’s silly. I have a dentist appointment next week and I am so nervous. I am at college now and have always gone to the same gentle dentist my whole life. I know you’re supposed to go in every six months, but I am seriously thinking of cancelling because I am so nervous. I know it’s no big deal. Any tips that can help me not be be so scared of the dentist?

– Bethany in Indiana


Do you know how many millions of Americans are scared of the dentist? You have nothing to feel silly about. The more you can do to not psyche yourself out, the better. Yes, that’s easier said than done, but you even said yourself a cleaning and exam is no big deal.

It sounds like you found a comfort level with the gentle dentist you grew up with. Now, it’s time to put your trust in someone new. So it’s understandable that you are apprehensive. A lot of people find that a simple distraction works fabulous. Music or a movie can help keep your mind off what is going on. Deep breathing to relax is also a helpful technique.

Rest assured that there is nothing wrong with telling your dentist that you are scared. Most dentists genuinely want you to have a positive experience. Many cater to cowards, just like you and look forward to helping nervous patients work through their fear. If none of this is comforting you, ask your dentist about sedation dentistry or what some refer to as sleep dentistry. You may be a candidate if you are extremely fearful.

Communication is key in building that foundation of trust. Keeping up with your regular cleaning and exams is the best way to prevent problems down the road.

Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Rotting and broken tooth. What are they going to do?

I have two teeth in the very back that have holes in the side of them. One of them has deteriorated so much it has collapsed on itself and part of it is now gone. I have an appointment in a couple weeks. What are they going to do? Do you think they will do a filling or have to pull it out? I’m so embarrassed because it has been so long since I have been in and I’m really scared.

– Amanda in Washington


You are doing the right thing in going in to have it taken care of. The teeth will not get better on their own, so they need to be treated. Try not to get too worked up about the appointment. And don’t be embarrassed. Most dentists aren’t in the business of shaming you or make you feel bad. They just want to help resolve your problem in a pain-free manner.

If you are particularly fearful, see if your dentist offers sedation dentistry or nitrous oxide. Both of these techniques will help you relax and deal with your fear.

As for the particular treatment, it is difficult to say what the dentist will recommend. Although, based on what you have described a filling probably won’t be sufficient. If you are having pain, that is actually a good sign. This means a root canal can be used to save the tooth. Depending on how much of the tooth is in tact, a porcelain crown could be appropriate. Or if the teeth are not salvageable, they may need to be extracted. Dental implants or a dental bridge are both options to replace the missing teeth.

Try not to talk yourself out of going. You’re doing the right thing and don’t feel bad. You’ll feel much better after this is all behind you. Then, the best way to keep your oral health in check is to visit the dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and exam. Thanks for your question and good luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.