I’m 19 and have had a difficult past that includes sexual assault. I have always had dental anxiety, but it has been even worse since then. I want to see a sedation dentist to see if that helps, but I also have anxiety about being put out. I know that it’s not rational. I know it’s safe to see a doctor, but I can’t bring myself to make the phone call to go in if I can’t take my mom with me into the room. I want her to stay with me throughout the whole procedure. Will a sedation dentist let us do that? I know some people have rules about it and I am not comfortable asking about it in person.
Jessica in Pennsylvania
So sorry to hear about your difficult journey. It sounds like you’re on the right track by seeing a sedation dentist. Most offices offer what’s known as conscious sedation, which means you’re awake, but kept content with medications throughout treatment. It also means that you can communicate with the staff the entire time.
Each office has a different protocol about whether they allow family members in the room. In many cases, a family member is welcomed to be present, provided the procedure is not a serious one, such as an extraction, and that the person doesn’t cause a distraction. So, a supportive mother is usually fine. Some offices will even allow family members in the room during an extraction, but this is always a call made by the dentist. He’ll take your safety, as well as a smooth visit, into consideration.
With that said, it’s a good idea for you to talk to the office about why you have anxiety, so that they can help you best. When you are medicated, offices will generally assign an employee to stay with you the whole time, which may bring you additional comfort.
It takes a special kind of doctor to become a sedation dentist. They choose the field because they understand anxiety, have compassion, and want you to receive the best care possible. They also understand triggers, and are glad to accommodate you to the best of their ability.
You may wish to speak with a couple offices in advance, prior to your initial appointment, just to see how they handle situations like yours. Although it’s difficult, it might be a good idea to mention your history when scheduling and asking questions, so that the staff understands the reason for your request. Best of luck to you.
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.