Monthly Archives: January 2018

Convince My Parents I Need Dental Sedation

Please help me. My parents aren’t big believers in dental care. I used to beg to go to the dentist because I worried I was the only one of my friends who didn’t go at that point in my life. They finally agreed to pay half if I could show I had my half ready. I think the only reason they did that was to get me off their back and they didn’t think I’d follow through on my end.

Well, I did. I saved up the money, researched a dentist, and made an appointment. Because I was a minor I had to have a parent with me. My mother came and sat in the lobby. It was no surprise to me that I had some cavities. I’ve almost saved enough to go back and have them filled, but I really want dental sedation. Even just my cleaning felt horrible, probably because I’d never been.

I can’t imagine how bad the fillings will feel. Plus, I’m nervous about the shot. My parents said they’d only cover half the cost of the filling and not “unnecessary” things like sedation. It will take me much longer to get the money for the sedation if I have to do all of it and I don’t want my cavities to get worse.

Is there a way to convince my parents this is useful?

Simone F.

Dear Simone,

A woman using nitrous oxide a form of dental sedation

I’m very sorry you’re having to struggle to get your parents to do your dental care. Many low-income families will almost feel it an impossible task to afford dental care. They don’t always realize they could actually save money with regular cleaning than waiting until a dental emergency rears its ugly head.

As you’ve already developed some cavities, which given the fact that you’d never gotten to go to a dentist before, is not surprising and likely not even your fault, one thing your parents need to know is that if these aren’t filled they’ll spread and become a tooth infection. People still, to this day, die from tooth infection. Unlike most bacterial infections, antibiotics alone aren’t enough. A dentist has to physically remove the infected pulp. This is called a root canal treatment and is much more expensive than a filling so the earlier this is cared for the more affordable it is.

Why Might Dental Sedation Be Important

For even a simple procedure, like a filling, you’ll need a local anesthetic to numb the area. Given your anxiety over your last experience, it will be hard for you to get numb. Anxiety raises your metabolism which burns off the numbing meds. If you have some sedation, even mild sedation like nitrous oxide, it should relax you enough for the anesthetic to work.

For others, the anxiety is so strong that nitrous isn’t enough. They need oral conscious sedation. This relaxes you so much that you’ll likely sleep through the entire procedure.

One other huge benefit is the cost-effectiveness. You’re able to get much more done in one appointment. In fact, you’ll likely be able to get all of your fillings done in that one appointment which will save you the cost of coming back for additional appointments.

Be aware, also, that there are affordable dentists who will be more than happy to work with you.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.

Is It Safe to go to a Regular Dentist for Porcelain Veneers?

I’m interested in getting porcelain veneers. My dentist says he does them, but he’s a general dentist. Should I go to a cosmetic dentist for this or am I safe with my dentist?


Dear Meg,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

Your question brings up quite a common misconception. Every cosmetic dentist is a general dentist. There isn’t a recognized cosmetic dentistry specialty by the American Dental Association (ADA). What that means is that any general dentist who does cosmetic work can call themselves a cosmetic dentist.

However, each dentist has a different level of skill when it comes to creating beautiful smiles. So, how will you know if your dentist can give you beautiful porcelain veneers?

Finding the Right Dentist for Your Smile Makeover

First, ask to see his smile gallery. If he does enough cosmetic dentistry he should have a brag book of sorts with cases he’s done. Don’t let him show you stock photos. Tell him you want actual before and after pictures of his clients. If he balks at that, run away…fast. He should be proud of his work. If he’s not, that’s a red flag.

Second, Make sure he has a beautiful smile guarantee. Essentially, that means he’ll do the porcelain veneers and place them on you with a temporary try-in paste. Under no circumstances should you allow him to permanently bond them on without you seeing what they look like on you in a variety of lighting AND you give your approval.

If you love what you see, then he can bond them on. If you don’t, he should be willing to go back to the lab and re-do them. Then, he should do the try-in paste again. He should be willing to do that as many times as necessary to give you the smile you’re paying for.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.