Category Archives: Fear of the Dentist

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.

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.

Have Dental Anxiety: Need Help Finding the Best Implant Dentist

I haven’t always taken the best care of my teeth, but I’ve gotten much better over the years. I really hate going to the dental office and get terrible anxiety- not your average anxiety either. I pace in the waiting room, I can’t bear to sit in the chair and wait for the dentist, and I even sweat up a storm. Somehow, I made it through most of my reconstructive work, which included a deep cleaning, a couple of crowns, and some fillings. However, my avoidance of the dental office cost me two teeth- one towards the front and one all the way in back. I want to replace them, but I’m not sure how to go about looking for the best implant dentist for patients with anxiety. It seems to me that most doctors offer one service or the other, but not both together. Is there a trick to finding the best implant dentist for someone in my situation, or do I have to choose between someone who is either great with anxious patients or someone who is truly the best implant dentist?

Thanks,

Martin in Connecticut

Dear Martin,

Let’s start with the basics. There are only nine specialties recognized by the American Dental Association, and none of them relate to dental implants or treating anxious patients. This is actually a good thing, because it means that any general dentist can go through additional training, and become experts in either (or both!) types of treatment.

In terms of finding the best implant dentist, you’ll want to look for someone who has lots of experience, and who has a successful track record. Naturally, those who have the most training and practical experience will have a very high success rate- as high as 98-99%. You can also ask for before and after photos of their real patients, so you can see firsthand what their finished restorations look like. This way, you’re able to evaluate his cosmetic and mechanical skill levels.

It takes a special kind of doctor to treat anxious patients. Generally, if you see that an office provides “sedation dentistry” services, it’s a sign that the doctor is familiar with the psychology behind anxiety, and that he takes extra steps to set his patients at ease. You don’t necessarily have to take advantage of to it, but seeing “caters to cowards,” “gentle dentistry,” or “sleep dentistry” alongside his traditional services, should indicate that the doctor will go the extra mile to set the right atmosphere for you and will be understanding if you need time to settle in.

Before you book an appointment, have a look around the websites of prospective offices and look for the signs that he’s the best implant dentist around (experience, skills, photos) and also that he provides additional services for those who suffer from dental anxiety. Don’t hesitate to call and ask questions if you’re not sure, and take advantage of consultations to make sure that you mesh well with the doctor you choose.

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

Bethany,

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

Amanda,

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.

Freaked out about my dentist appointment!

I’ve always had really good teeth. Well, for whatever reason it’s been awhile since I’ve been to the dentist for a check-up and now I’m paying for it. I have four total cavities. The dentist is only going to do two the first time. I am only 13 years old so my mom won’t let them medicate me. Please help, I am freaking out!

– Meara in Ohio

Meara,

First, take a deep breath. Sometimes it’s the anticipation of the actual appointment that drives us nuts. The reality is that you shouldn’t feel anything.

Your fear is very real though and shouldn’t be scoffed at. Dentists genuinely really want to help people and cater to cowards everyday in their practices. The last thing they want to do is cause you pain. Most dentists are trained to deal with fearful patients and if the dentist is recommending you only get two done at a time, it sounds as if he or she is understanding that four at once may be more than you are able to tolerate.

The best thing you can do is be open and honest. Communicate how you are feeling. If your mother approves, you may be able to use nitrous oxide, a relaxant gas to help you relax. This is a mild form of sedation dentistry and is safe for teenagers and children. Then, after the injection of Novocaine, you won’t feel anything. If for some reason you thing you do during the treatment, raise your hand and let the dentist know right away. They will administer more Novocaine if needed. Good luck! Try to put it out of your mind. It will all be behind you sooner than you think.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Is there help for dental phobia?

I’m so embarrassed to be admitting this but I have dental phobia. I try to psyche myself up to go into the dentist but I put it off at all cost. I literally lose sleep before a dentist appointment for a full week. I can’t put it off any longer because I need some major work done. I am freaking out! There has to be others like me. Anyone? Please help. I know I have to get the work done, but am trying to avoid the nervous breakdown I feel coming on. It’s not that I’m necessarily scared of what the dentist is doing, it’s fear that he will somehow slip and hit a nerve or cause me unbearable pain.

– Cammie in Texas

Cammie,

Have you talked to your dentist about this? Dental fear is a real phobia that millions of people have. You are not alone and should not feel embarrassed at all. Many dentists like to cater to cowards just like you. These types of practices are passionate about helping you get the care you need. They are gentle, the atmosphere is relaxing, and they usually offer sedation dentistry.

Have you heard of oral sedation? It sounds like you are an excellent candidate. It simply involves taking some medication prior to your appointment which will make you completely indifferent to what is going on. It is perfectly safe and effective. Most sedation dentistry patients will tell you that they remember nothing of the visit. You aren’t unconscious which means you still breathe and swallow on your own, so it’s different than general anesthesia like you get at a hospital. Pretty much, it feels like no time has passed. Most relate it to feeling like you were asleep. Imagine going into the dentist without the fear. When you “wake up” it’s over.

You will need to have someone drive you to the office and back because it won’t be safe for you to drive. The right sedation dentist can help you work through your fear and build that trust. Who knows – maybe one day all the anxiety will be a thing of the past. Ask your dentist about sedation.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

How do I know I can trust this dentist?

I have been dealing with an annoying toothache for the last couple weeks. It seems to come on strong and then goes away for a day. It’s not predictable. I am new to my area and went into a dentist at the recommendation of a co-worker. When he did an x-ray he said there was a really big cavity on that tooth. I already have a filling on that tooth so he said there wasn’t that much structure left on the tooth to save it. So he wants to drill it out to see how deep it goes and told me the best thing to do is have it extracted that same day. Then he gave me the fees for replacing it with a dental implant and told me to be prepared for bone grafting. The price tag is quite hefty and I can’t help but me skeptical. I mean the tooth is bothering me but in no way did I anticipate having to have it pulled. Can I really trust this guy?

On top of it all, I hate going to the dentist because I get extremely anxious. So thinking of getting the tooth pulled, surgery, and all the other steps involved with a dental implant has me pretty much a nervous wreck. Do you think I need a second opinion? Or does this sound like the best course of action? I fear not only the treatment itself but also how I will react to the medication when they sedate me. Any advice you have would be super helpful!

– Kaitlyn in Alabama

Kaitlyn,

It is always difficult to give advice without having seen an x-ray or seen you in person. But, you may have reason to be skeptical based on the information you have provided. Here’s why.

If the toothache just began, it likely has just recently become infected. Therefore, you should have some other options. If the tooth was not salvageable it probably would have been bothering you for months and not weeks as you have mentioned.

There is nothing wrong with seeking a second opinion. Here are a few pointers when you see the new dentist. Don’t go in there complaining about the recommendations of the other dentist. Just provide him or her with the same facts and symptoms you did the first time around. You don’t want to give the new dentist any preconceived biases about his recommendations. You can also request the original x-ray and bring it with you. That way, you don’t have to pay for another one. So you aren’t necessarily hiding the fact that you have seen a different dentist, you want an independent evaluation.

So yes, a second opinion would be smart. Hopefully, there is a possibility that a root canal treatment may save the tooth at this point. But see what the new dentist says.

Another thing worth bringing up is your anxiety over the medication used in sedation. You sound like a good candidate for sedation dentistry. There are a couple options, based on your level of anxiety, as well as your sensitivity to medications. Be upfront with the dentist you select. You may only need nitrous oxide, a mild relaxant gas to help you calm down. Or if you are petrified, oral sedation may be a better fit. Just be sure to find out the kind of medication that particular dentist prefers to use for oral sedation to make sure you will be able to tolerate it without issue. Don’t let your dental fear keep you away. This tooth needs to be taken care of and staying away from the dentist will lead to more invasive treatment in the future. Sedation dentistry has helped many fearful patients get back on track with routine care. Hopefully it will be a good fit for you too.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Holes in my teeth & scared of the dentist!

So I asked my mom and it has been like 10 years since I have been to the dentist. I know, mom of the year award, right? I am 18 now and am convinced I have several cavities because I literally have a hold in some of my teeth. They look like black dots. I am so scared to go in after all this time has passed. What should I do?  I’m starting to have some pain so I know I shouldn’t put it off any longer.

– Shayna in Wyoming

Shayna,

Yes, it’s time to go in and get an examination. It is understandable that you are scared. But if it’s been 10 years since you have been to a dentist, you may be surprised how much has changed. The technology and techniques used in dentistry today are virtually pain-free.

But first things first, go into the dentist so they can figure out what the next steps need to be. At the exam, the dentist will be taking x-rays and checking things out. If you are up for it, a cleaning would be a great idea. But, you don’t have to get yourself all psyched out because the treatment won’t come until another appointment.

You may be a candidate for sedation dentistry. There are a couple different sedation dentistry options that may help you with your anxiety. Nitrous oxide is a relaxant gas that is breathed in through the mouth. It will help you to relax and feel more comfortable. It may make you feel a little bit silly but the effects wear off almost instantly after the gas is turned off. Or if you are really freaked, you may consider oral sedation. This involves taking a prescribed medication before your appointment. You will feel like no time has passed, but you won’t remember anything about the appointment. It will feel like you fell asleep. You will be conscious though which means you will still breathe normally and your protective reflexes will function normally. Sedation does wonders for fearful patients. It has helped so many people get back on track with regular care.

It’s hard to tell you just how far the decay has progressed without having actually seen you in person. But if you are beginning to have pain, you need to be seen as soon as possible. So be brave and make your appointment

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Scared of the dentist for many reasons.

Ever since I’ve known my husband which is over 15  years now, he’s been afraid of the dentist. He doesn’t talk about it much and honestly I have just leave him alone about it. I go in routinely because I understand that regular teeth cleanings can help prevent bigger problems down the road. He doesn’t see it that way. Not only does he get extreme anxiety about going in for an appointment, he cannot stand how expensive dental care ends up being. Well, he’s been dealing with a stubborn toothache that isn’t getting any better. I finally convinced him to go in to see what is going on but the thousand dollar price tag has him finding all these reasons to keep putting if off. Do you have any recommendations for someone like this?

– Jen in New Jersey

Jen,

Not only does it sound like you are dealing with a major case of dental fear, the financial stress sounds like it is compounding the situation.

To address the anxiety your husband deals with, it would be good to look for sedation dentists. These types of dentists will likely go out of their way to accommodate the fearful patient. They will practice gentle dentistry techniques, go slowly to make sure everything is completely understood, and they will offer nitrous oxide or oral sedation under the right circumstances. Often times it is a negative or painful experience that has kept fearful patients away. So communicating that the entire visit will be pain-free goes a long way. Another term you can search for online is a cater to cowards dentist. Again, these dentists will usually have sedation dentistry and in some practices they try to create a tranquil, almost spa-like atmosphere to help put patients at ease.

In addressing the financial issues, many patients have this road block in moving forward with care. The right dentist will completely understand your husband’s concerns and will help come up with a plan that works for him. Many practices will suggest phasing treatment out over time. For example, this can be done by addressing the most urgent needs first and then waiting for a time period before taking care of other problems. This approach works well in paying as you go. Other practices have affordable financing options like CareCredit, or in-office discount plans.

There is a good chance that a toothache will only get worse, not better. Even if the pain subsides in a couple weeks, it doesn’t mean the tooth is better. Often times a root canal will be required to save the tooth. This type of treatment takes care of the infection so it doesn’t continue spreading to other parts of the body. The sooner the problem is addressed, the less pain and less expensive it can likely be addressed. Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.