Can My Mom Stay in the Room at the Sedation Dentist?

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.

Thank you,

Jessica in Pennsylvania

Dear Jessica,

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.

Can I Self-Medicate with Marijuana Before Visiting the Emergency Dentist?

I have a prescription for medical marijuana which I use for anxiety. I broke a tooth and will be booking with an emergency dentist in a couple of days and will be utilizing my prescription in the meantime. I am curious to know if this will matter to the emergency dentist. Can he refuse to treat me? If so, is there harm in not telling him? I know many people are progressive these days, but there is still stigma with some.

Thanks,

Tom in Washington

Dear Tom,

The situation will likely be handled differently from one emergency dentist to another. From a medical standpoint, there can be complications if you have marijuana in your system during your appointment. Because marijuana varies in strength and there’s no way to know how much you’re taking in, nor how much will be in your system at the time of the appointment, it can be a recipe for disaster. Some studies have shown that marijuana use before receiving epinephrine can make your heart beat abnormally fast or cause peripheral vasodilation. If you already have anxiety, it can create a dangerous, if not deadly situation. Most of the time, the dentist will use a local anesthetic with epinephrine, though if he is aware that it is contraindicated, he will use something else.

Moreover, if your tooth needs an extraction and the dentist wants to give you pain medication for afterwards, your existing prescriptions and over-the-counter medications will be taken into account. Because everything works together differently, he will need to take great care to insure anything he gives you is safe.

Yes, there is still some stigma in certain circles, but that is something you’ll have to tackle head-on for the sake of your health and safety. You can always call more than one emergency dentist and let them know what medications you are taking in advance, just to see how they react. Bear in mind, dentists treat patients from all walks of life, and most doctors have had a patient or two who used marijuana before it legalized in any fashion. Typically, it is treated as any other medication, though you’re still likely to hear about some of the dental side-effects of marijuana use, such as dry mouth and an increased risk for cavities. Take heart when you hear these messages, because you may learn how to prevent some dental woes, even if you continue to make use of your prescription.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Missing Several Teeth: Are Dental Implants an Option?

I’m missing several teeth for various reasons. A couple got knocked out in an accident and another one got decay under the crown and there wasn’t enough tooth left to save it (so I’m told) by the time we realized there was a problem. I want to start replacing them and I have looked into dental implants. They’re quite an investment, but my doctor says they’re best. Are dental implants my only real option since I’m missing several teeth?

-Connor

Dear Connor,

Dental implants are probably the best option, whether you’re missing several teeth or just one. The only caveat to that is that certain health conditions and habits, such as smoking, may preclude them as an option. The biggest advantage to them is that they work just like your natural tooth and anchor into the bone. This makes them very strong and helps you retain the bone in your jaw. With other types of restorations, the body begins to reabsorb the bone where the tooth was. The reduction of bone makes people look older, and leads to that puckered look people associate with aging. This bone loss condition is called facial collapse.

You didn’t specify whether the teeth were together or not, but there is a myriad of ways dental implants can be used to replace several missing teeth at once. Sometimes, a bridge can be created, with the dental implant serving as an anchor and a natural tooth serving as an anchor, while other times one on each side of the gap may be placed to anchor the bridge. With bridges, the teeth between the anchor teeth are made to match perfectly, so it will still look natural and it will be strong. However, you may still lose some bone over time in the areas between the anchors. You may also be able to use them in conjunction with a partial or a denture.

If cost is a concern, it’s a good idea to discuss these options with your dentist first. If you find they’re not an option, you may be a candidate for a standard bridge or a partial. A partial will probably be your least-expensive option, though a lot of people find they’re not happy with the fit sometime after, plus an ill-fitting denture can cause sore spots and make it difficult to eat. It just doesn’t feel “natural.” However, eating will still be easier for you than it likely is now, and a partial will help you smile for confidently as well. Ultimately, the decision is yours, but dental implants are likely the best choice if it’s within your means to get them.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

How to fix white spots after daughter’s braces were removed?

My daughter has been counting the days until her braces came off. For her 16th birthday, she wanted nothing more than to have them removed. We did it! But the excitement was short-lived when she had these ugly white spots left on her teeth. The orthodontist didn’t say much, so when we took her into our regular dentist he recommended getting Zoom whitening done. So we did. Big mistake! The white spots look worse. He told us the color would even out but nothing has happened since the whitening was done. Do we really have to wait? Or should we try another form of tooth whitening?

– Pam in Maryland

Pam,

When white spots appear after braces are removed, it is not a teeth whitening issue. This is actually decalcification that occurs since it is very difficult to clean around the braces. If extra care is given to the hygiene, then the minerals in the tooth are stripped off. Cosmetically, this appears as white spots on the tooth. It’s not decay, which many individuals actually assume. It is from the lack of minerals that leaves the teeth more succeptible.

Unfortunately, the orthodontist should have addressed this issue. Also, it doesn’t sound like your general dentist does much cosmetic dentistry. He should have known this wouldn’t fix the problem.

Zoom whitening will do the opposite, as you found out the hard way. The spots stand out more! There are some oral health products on the market designed to re-mineralize the teeth. But there really are no guarantees with going that route. But if you are interested in giving them a try, look up Tooth Mousse or MI Paste online. They claim that the high mineral content in the product will help strengthen and re-absorb the minerals.

Another treatment that may work for your daughter is called microabrasion. If you explore this option, be sure the dentist has had success with this treatment. Ask to see cases similar to yours and ask if he has ever had any cases that turned out creamy versus white after treatment. Since these spots will eventually be decayed areas, it may be beneficial to have them removed. That is the thought process behind this option. Then dental bonding is added to protect and strengthen the teeth. This will also eliminate the appearance-related issues your daughter is troubled with. Bonding will require periodic touch-ups.

Thanks for your question. Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Infection will not go away after having a tooth pulled.

I am so sick of dealing with the dentist. I had a root canal done at an endodondist’s office over a year ago. When the initial appointment took place, the doctor kept referencing “C” shaped roots. It didn’t seem like he was overly confident that all would end up well. I took antibiotics after the appointment and then I followed up with my normal dentist after six weeks. During that six week cleaning appointment, I still felt pain in the tooth. She recommended an x-ray and the dentist was on vacation. So I was told that the dentist would check it out when he returned. Well, I never heard anything. I assumed everything looked okay. When I was back for the next cleaning nearly six months after, I told the dentist that I still felt discomfort in the tooth and didn’t feel like the root canal was successful. After yet another x-ray, the tooth was determined to still be infected. He told me to call back to the endodontist. The endodontist’s office went ahead and prescribed Penicillin. After all this, I had to get the tooth pulled. After that was done, the facial pain and headaches finally improved. I think the extraction went well. But I can’t help but be concerned that the infection is not completely healed. Is it possible it’s worked into my jawbone? I really feel fed up with my latest experience and don’t necessarily trust that all is okay after everything that I’ve been through. I would love your insight.

-Larry in Nevada

Larry,

It is unfortunate the failed root canal wasn’t re-evaluated sooner. Most often, an experienced endodontist will be able to re-treat the tooth and save it. Sorry to hear you have had such a long and difficult experience.

Since you did end up requiring a tooth extraction, the infection should be taken care of once and for all. This is because the socket is able to act as a point of exit for any lingering draining to take place out of the body. Although, it is possible for the infection to have entered the bone, it is pretty rare. It sounds like the improvement in your symptoms is a positive sign, as well. It sounds like you are finally healing normally.

If you have any doubts, there is no harm in following up with the oral surgeon. A stubborn infection may end up requiring a stronger dosage of antibiotics. If for some reason an infection is detected, be sure to explain to the doctor that you have already been through a course of Penicillin. You don’t want the strand to become resistant, so Clindmycin would be a good alternative.

Thank you for your question.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

I am scared of the dentist!

When I think of the dentist, I see a horror film going through my head. I hate it! The drill, the noise, the stuff hanging out of my mouth. I get myself entirely too worked up, but I cannot help it. I don’t want to set this terrible example for my kids. Is there any hope for me to get the care I need?

-Jess in New Jersey

Jess,

If it makes you feel any better, millions of people hate going to the dentist. Whether it’s fear or possibly a negative experience, there is good news. There are many dentists out there that focus on gentle dentistry techniques and take a cater to cowards approach. They genuinely love seeing fearful patients.

It sounds like you understand the importance of going to the dentist, to avoid those expensive, invasive dental appointments. And it’s great that you want to set a better example for your children. The dentists that love treating fearful patients will work with you and will not make you feel bad, even if it has been years since you were in. They will take it slow and do everything possible to ease your anxiety. Many practices of this nature practice sedation dentistry. Based on what you have talked about, it sounds like you may be an ideal candidate for sedation dentistry.

Nitrous oxide is a form of sedation that uses a relaxant gas that is administered by breathing through a mask. It is easy to adjust and you are still able to communicate with the dentist during treatment. It will make you feel relaxed in the chair and the effects wear off in only a couple minutes. This option is an ideal choice for patients that tend to get a little nervous and have mild anxiety.

If you are scared or extremely fearful, oral sedation may work best. This option simply involves taking a prescribed medication prior to your appointment. Although, you will technically still be conscious and your protective reflexes will function normally, you will remember very little if anything about the visit. Pretty much, it will feel like no time has passed and that you fell asleep. This form of sedation dentistry is perfect for the petrified dental patient. It allows the dentist to get a lot of work done in one sitting. You will be required to have someone accompany you to the appointment, because it will be unsafe for your to drive yourself home.

Hopefully this post gives you some hope. You aren’t alone! Sedation dentistry has helped countless patients get back on track with regular dental care. Thank you for your question.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Will dental implants eliminate pain?

My mom has a lot of physical problems after a stroke. She is disabled and requires a lot of assistance with daily tasks. When she started complaining of a toothache, we knew we needed to get her in. She avoids the dentist at all costs. So we know her teeth aren’t in the best shape. We decided to take her into a local dental school to see what was going on. Well, we were shocked when we learned she is missing  a tooth. They think that the pain is being caused from her top teeth coming down into the gap and literally irritating her jawbone.

It sounds like it also may be time to consider dentures because she needs many more teeth pulled. She wants to know if dental implants will take care of her problem where the most recent missing tooth was discovered? Will that work? Or would it be better to extract the top tooth that is coming down and causing her pain when she bites?

-Gena in Texas

Gena,

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, without actually seeing your mother’s case or studying the notes, it’s difficult to make recommendations.

As you have seen with your mom, teeth need their opposing biting partners to remain strong and healthy. So, when there is a tooth that is gone, the opposite one will not experience biting force. Sometimes it will protrude or shift around. When the tooth was originally lost, that would have been the ideal time to consider a dental implant to replace it. At this point it time, it’s not so straightforward.

In order to have successful dental implants, the patient must have otherwise healthy mouth. The risk is that the dental implant wouldn’t heal properly. If she has any signs of gum disease, she may not be a dental implant candidate. The implant would be at risk for infection and may end up causing her even more discomfort.

It would be wise for her to seek a consultation with an experienced implant dentist. She will need to have a full diagnosis and evaluation to best determine the correct treatment plan. It is possible that dental implants would be beneficial as part of her overall treatment plan, but possibly not in the area you are referencing. Before pulling all the teeth and getting dentures, the viability should be determined of each tooth. The quick fix would be to extract the tooth that is causing her discomfort while biting. But she may end up having more problems in the long run. It may be time to seek a second opinion beyond that of a dental school.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Is a County clinic my only option for affordable dentistry?

I’m self employed and have been trying to find an affordable dentist for many years. The ones I have tried have felt like a clinic. The dentist seems bothered and rushes through the appointment. I can’t seem to find dental insurance that makes sense so I have been using a discount plan for awhile now. This approach narrow my options. Is there any better way to get affordable dental care without compromising quality?

-Jake in Indiana

Jake,

When you search for an affordable dentist, nine times out of ten, you will end up with a dental clinic-type practice. The reason being is that the doctors that run them make money by seeing more patients. The end result is exactly as you explained, little interaction, and more of an in and out mentality.

If you can try to change your mindset to finding the right dentist that will work with you to make your care affordable versus finding the cheapest dentist around, you could be pleasantly surprised. Find a dentist based on their credentials and quality of care, then have the discussion about budget. Often times, they may have affordable payment plans, offer discounts for uninsured patients, or work with you on payment or phasing out treatment over time.

Also, you mentioned the dental discount plan being very limiting to the care you were receiving. You may be surprised that self-employed dental benefits can be a reality. Many large, national dental insurance companies will offer great preventative plans for approximately $30/month. So when you examine the cost of paying for cleanings as you need it, compared to budgeting monthly, you’ll find that it evens out in the long run. There are also insurance options to cover restorative and more invasive dental treatments. Check around to competitive insurance companies and you can probably find a reasonable rate you can afford. It goes without saying that the more affordable premiums mean less coverage. But you may be surprised. Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Is Care Credit good for dental implants?

I have had a couple really terrible years with my oral health. My bridge failed and now I need to get four dental implants. My insurance of course will not cover them. So I am trying to explore my options to make them work into my budget. My dentist is recommending I try CareCredit. I really don’t have great credit, so I want to know if it’s worth my time to even look into it? I just don’t know how I will make the dental implant treatment work otherwise?

-Ben in Missouri

Ben,

Care Credit is a third party financing company with many excellent, low or zero percent financing options. The payment plans are affordable and generally very reasonable. It can be utilized for many procedures that qualify over a certain fee threshold, including dental implants. Basically, it’s like a credit card for healthcare services. The nice thing is that you can typically get a zero percent term for six months to a year for each treatment, with low interest rates. It’s usually pretty simply to see if you qualify and most dental offices can even do it for you right in the office. Different practices take advantage of different options or promotions, so you need to work directly with your implant dentist to see what works best for your dental implants.

Approval is based on your credit history, but just because your credit score may not be excellent doesn’t mean you won’t be approved. It’s worth a try and you will find out immediately if you are approved. It’s also worth mentioning that you can add a co-borrower if that is at all beneficial to your situation. There is no penalty to pay the balance in full, if or when you are ready and it usually helps many individuals get the care they need in an affordable manner.

Hopefully this encourages you to give it a try. Here’s the link to the CareCredit website. You may also be able to apply online at www.carecredit.com.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Help! I’m allergic to my dental work.

I have suffered from allergies and eczema for as long as I can remember. My skin is a mess, my joints hurt, and I have zero energy. Whenever I would talk to a doctor, they’d try to tell me it was all in my head. They would say that I need more exercise, rest, and a better diet. Who doesn’t – right?! I just knew there was something else wrong because I just felt off. Well, as it turns out allergies can be linked to these symptoms. So, I had a doctor do a ton of patch testing and found out I’m allergic to a host of metals and other materials used in dentistry like formaldehyde, dental cement, and titanium of which I had no idea. Well, that means that my crowns, dental implant which has titanium, and the root canal I recently had done, probably haven’t been doing many positive things for my overall health. When I talked with my dentist, he gave me the attitude like, well, that’s too bad for you. In my opinion, that’s just not acceptable. Please tell me you have some answers. Is there an allergist dentist of some sort?

-Jeff in Arizona

Sorry to hear you feel like you’ve had the run around when all along there was a legitimate problem you have been living with. You sound miserable and fed up. Well, the good news is that holistic dentistry is gaining popularity. More and more people are becoming aware and concerned with the substances and materials they bring into their homes and place in their bodies. So a good starting point would be to search for a holistic dentist in your city.

A holistic dentist will treat your total health and your body as a whole. He or she may recommend what’s called a a Cliffords’ test (CMRT) which stands for Clifford Materials Reactivity Test. This type of testing is somewhat controversial within dentistry. But it sounds like you have pursued all other routes, so it may be the right fit for you. This will better pinpoint the dental materials that are safe for your individual case.

It may be one of those situations where removing a dental implant or other dental work, may not make the most sense or be the most economical. But hopefully they will be able to provide you some answers and will evaluate your case from a different perspective.

It may take a little time and research to find the right holistic dentist for you. But don’t give up. You deserve to feel better. Best of luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.