Category Archives: Sedation Dentist

Is All Dental Sedation the Same?

I’m terrified of the dentist. However, this fear is ruining my life. I’ve been seeing a therapist and he suggested, at least in the short term to try sedation dentistry. He’s worried I’m getting infections because my mouth always hurts. We’re still working on my anxiety, but said this is more like an emergency and the sedation will handle the anxiety part for me for now. I looked it up and there seem to be a lot of different types. Given my personal situation, would one be better for me than the other?

Rose

Dear Rose,

A dentist standing behind a woman smiling in a dental chair
Those with dental anxiety CAN have pain-free care again.

You have a very wise therapist. He’s looking out for your mental and physical health. Pain is often a sign of an infection and is considered a dental emergency. Dental infections are different than medical ones. When you’re dealing with a medical infection you can take an antibiotic and almost always that’s enough.

With dental infections, however, if the infection kills the pulp of the tooth an antibiotic won’t help. There’s no longer blood flow to get in the infected part of the tooth. A dentist will have to physically remove the infected pulp. This is known as a root canal treatment.

If left untreated, the infection will continue to spread. If you think about how close your jaw is to your heart and brain, a dental emergency can quickly turn into a medical emergency. Even if it doesn’t, you will begin to lose teeth. If not from decay, then gum disesase. Your teeth will just start falling out.

Depressed yet?

Now for the Good News: Dental Sedation Can Change Your Life

With your high level of anxiety and the amount of work you are likely to need up front, my recommendation is you find a sedation dentist who offers Oral Conscious Sedation. It will be a game changer for you. All you’ll have to do the day of the appointment is take a simple pill. You can spend the rest of your appointment asleep if you want. In fact, most OCS patients end up sleeping through their appointment completely. Others prefer to stay awake but are completely relaxed and in no pain whatsoever.

There is some preparation needed ahead of time. First, you’ll need a consultation with your dentist to go over any medications you are currently taking. This is to ensure the dentist doesn’t give you anything which will have a reaction to something you already take.

You’ll also need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as remain with you for a few hours after your appointment until you’re more lucid. This is for your physical safety.

I hope this brings you the peace of mind you need.
This blog is brought to you by Libertyville Dentist Dr. David Potts.

Sedation Dental Work without Permission

I don’t know what to do. I’d developed some pretty severe anxiety and have been neglecting some important things as a result, including my dental care. I’ve been seeing a therapist and one thing he suggested just to get my oral health back on track was to see a sedation dentist until I’ve got my anxiety more under control. I thought it was a good idea. I saw a dentist and they listed out all the work I’d need. It was more than I anticipated so we set up a schedule where we’d do something called phased treatments. I’d do so much each visit and can take a break to save up for the next visit. Everything seemed to go fine with my first visit and I really thought this was going to be my answer. He was supposed to do a root canal treatment and crown along with three fillings. When I got home I was thrilled because I didn’t even remember the appointment so there was no trauma to increase my anxiety. However, the next morning, they called to tell me he was able to fit in a second dental crown in the time they had and they want submit the additional payment. I mentioned we had a set schedule for the work and I wouldn’t have the money for the additional procedure until the next scheduled time. She threatened not to bond the permanent crowns once they came in. I’m not sure this is fair because we had an agreement. What do I do?

Odessa

Dear Odessa,

A woman lsleeping in a dental chair from dental sedation
Dental sedation is designed to give you peace of mind.

This is highly unethical on the part of your dentist. In fact, I’d go so far as to say he could get into legal trouble for his actions. A dentist is to have your express permission before doing any dental work. There’s no way he can obtain your permission while you’re under sedation.

I’d call and ask to speak directly to the dentist. Remind him you had a schedule for the work and did not approve the additional crown. Let him know what the front office threatened. If he has integrity, he’ll agree to place the crowns and not charge you for the one done without your permission.

If he gives you any problems with that, feel free to tell him you’ll be speaking with the dental board. That should put things back into perspective for him.

Find a Different Sedation Dentist

You should not allow this office to continue to do your care. I wouldn’t trust them. They’ve already violated dental ethics on a couple of levels. There are plenty of legitimate sedation dentists out there who are worthy of your trust. I’d not waste another moment on a practice which isn’t.

Make a list of dentists who offer the services you need in your area. Then, be certain to check their reviews to see what type of service patient’s have received from them. If they check out, then give them a try. Your current dentist is required to turn over all notes, x-rays, etc., that will be useful in your continued care. Though, this dentist should place the permanent porcelain crowns for you.

Please don’t let this one bad apple spoil you off getting the care you actually need.

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

Can a Sedation Dentist Help When I Don’t Go Numb?

I had a tooth cause me a great deal of pain. I’m not the best at going to the dentist but this did force me to go in. In a way, I’m glad I did because I found out that not only is that tooth massively infected, but I have two other teeth with decay. I need to repair those before they become infected too. The dentist offered to do it right then because I was his last patient and the infection was so bad. I realize that was incredible of him, but for some reason, he couldn’t get me numb. He did 11 shots. Yes, you read that right. 11 shots. He suggested I see a sedation dentist. He wasn’t certified and said I’d be better off with someone who was. But, what I’m wondering is if going to a sedation dentist will do any good at all if Novocain doesn’t help?

Jamie

Dear Jamie,

A woman lsleeping in a dental chair from dental sedation
First, I have to say you have an amazing dentist. He puts your well-being above both his personal time and his profits. So many times we receive questions from people who’ve had disastrous dentists. It’s refreshing to have a question from someone with a terrific caregiver.

Your dentist is right that a sedation dentist is your solution. It’s often the case where people with severe dental anxiety, such as yours, are unable to get numb. The reason for that is the anxiety increases your metabolism. An increased metabolism burns off the numbing medication.

You’ll need a strong type of dental sedation, like oral conscious sedation. You simply take a pill. That’s super simple. The pill completely relaxes you. In fact, it will relax you so much that you’ll need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. You’ll be too loopy to drive. That’s to your benefit. You’ll be so relaxed you won’t be anxious. This will allow the Novocain to do its job. Most patients end up sleeping through their appointments.

Your dentist is also right that you’ll want someone who is certified. This is for your safety. Look for a dentist with DOCS Certification (Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation).

Why Dental Sedation is Important for you Right Now

This infection is serious. It will spread. If you think about how close your jaw is to your heart and brain you can see why, even in 2018, people still die from tooth infections. These type of infections are different than other types. You cannot simply take an antibiotic and be done. The dentist does have to physically remove the infected pulp.

Another benefit to you is you’ll be able to get more work done in one sitting. That means you can get to those other teeth suffering from decay and have them filled in the same appointment you get rid of your infection. While the infected tooth will need a root canal treatment and dental crown. The other teeth will only need simple fillings as long as you get to them soon.

Dental sedation will change the way you view your dental care. You’ll be able to get regular checkups done without the anxiety you’ve normally been faced with. Preventative care saves you a ton of money and trauma, because it either prevents problems altogether or catches them so early you only need minimal, non-invasive treatments.

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

Is Dental Sedation Safe?

I haven’t gone to a dentist in years. I’m terrified of them. But, I’m also beginning to get embarrassed by my smile. I have a visible cavity on one of my front teeth. So I talked to a friend about how afraid I am and she mentioned dental sedation. The only thing that worries me is the safety of it. How safe is it?

Laura

Dear Laura,

A woman lsleeping in a dental chair from dental sedation

How fantastic that you’re taking steps to improve your oral health. It’s not uncommon for people who avoid the dentist to be uncomfortable with their smile. You’re in a more urgent position having a cavity that you can see. These can limp along slowly or they can suddenly go deep and turn into a dental emergency. Because of that, you wouldn’t want to put this off. There’s the added benefit that the sooner you take care of this, the less invasive the treatment will be. You could get a simple filling as opposed to a root canal and porcelain crown.

Sedation dentistry is often a fantastic solution for people with dental anxiety. It allows them to have stress-free / pain-free appointments. Additionally, you’re able to get more work done in one appointment then you’d normally be able to do in one appointment. This helps you catch up on your neglected work much sooner than would otherwise be possible.

Upping Your Odds With Dental Sedation

Dental Sedation is very safe. However, it’s designed to take away your anxiety. We definitely don’t want it causing some. For someone with your anxiety level, we’d recommend oral conscious sedation. All you have to do is take a special pill. Though, it makes you a tad woozy. Because of that, we insist our patients have someone drive them to and from their appointment for safety reasons.

I think it will help put your mind at ease if you specifically chose a dentist who was DOCS certified. DOCS stands for The Dental Organization for Oral Conscious Sedation. Dentists who’ve taken the time to train with them are well versed in both the safety and emergency protocols to keep their patients in good health. Dr. Potts has done extensive training with them and is now awarded a fellowship. That’s the type of dentist you want to find in the area in which you live.

I hope this puts your mind at ease. This blog is brought to you by Libertyville, IL dentist Dr. David Potts.

The Most Work in One Appointment

I hate dentists. I hope you won’t be offended by that I just find it’s best to be honest up front. I have what is possibly a tooth infection. It hurts. So, if I’m going to suck it up and go in to see a dentist, I want to get as much work done as possible. What’s the most work I could get done in just one visit?

Carlton

Dear Carlton,

A woman's eye closed, asleep from sedation dentistry

I’m sorry about your toothache. Your admission about dentists doesn’t offend me in the least. I also think it’s important for patients to be upfront about things. It helps me to know the best treatment options for them.

How much work can get done in one appointment varies so much from dentist to dentist it’s hard to give you an estimate. Plus, you didn’t mention what procedures you think you’ll need. A tooth infection will need a root canal treatment. However, I don’t know if you’re talking about a root canal on a front tooth or a molar. That also varies in time. Some dentists can do a molar in one hour, but most take up to one and a half to two hours.

Dentists who use dental sedation are usually able to get more work done per appointment. The reason for that is it’s easier on the patient. Dentists limit the patient’s time in the chair out of consideration for their comfort. Sedation keeps them comfortable for longer periods of time. You may even find it changes your outlook about dental care and start going more regularly.

Tooth Pain is a Dental Emergency

Please don’t put this off too long. Tooth pain is often a sign of a dental infection. I know it sounds hard to believe but people still die of tooth infections. The United States saw several deaths from from infected teeth in 2017.

The sooner you deal with it the better. It may be the tooth can be saved. If it gets too far along, it will end up needing to be extracted. That will require expensive tooth replacements, such as dental implants.

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

Helping My Girlfriend After Dental Sedation

My girlfriend is having a procedure where she needs dental sedation. She said she’ll need a caregiver to get the procedure done. I agreed to be her caregiver, but I’m a little terrified. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. What does being her caregiver entail?

Charles

Dear Charles,

Someone asleep from sedation dentistry

It’s great that you’re trying to plan ahead to learn what you have to do to help your girlfriend. Believe me, it’s not nearly as scary as you think. Though, I do understand with it being an unknown why you’d be nervous.

The main thing with dental sedation is she will be very groggy and unstable on her feet—possibly even a little goofy. I’m sure you’ve seen videos on YouTube of people coming off of sedation saying silly things. There was even a video which went viral where some brothers pranked their sister into thinking there was a zombie apocalypse.

I don’t recommend you do anything like this. You’re there to make sure she doesn’t fall or anything like that. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to pamper her a bit. Have a comfy spot ready for her on the couch and some DVDs or Netflix ready for her to binge on.

The dentist will give you any post-operative instructions. They won’t be hard but feel free to ask the dentist as many questions as you need.

Benefits of Dental Sedation

  • It’s a lifesaver for people who have dental anxiety. Those who fear the dentist often have trouble getting numb. That’s because anxiety increases their metabolism which causes them to burn off the local anesthetic. Using dental sedation relaxes them enough to where the dentist can get them completely numb. Too often fearful patients avoid the dentist, which often means they end up with dental emergencies. Knowing they can have a pain free appointment enables them to get work done before they have serious problems.
  • More work can be done in one appointment. When you’re completely awake and alert it can be challenging to keep your jaw open for an extended period of time, which means multiple appointments to break up the amount of time the patient needs to keep their jaw wide. With sedation, a patient generally sleeps through the procedure, so it’s much easier for the dentist to do more work. That means fewer dental appointments for the patient.

Relax. Keep her comfortable. Help her when she needs to move from place to place. That’s pretty much it.

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

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.

Dental Care and PTSD

I’m an army vet. I served five tours. I don’t want to go into detail but I’ve got PTSD due to several things. Unfortunately, the last time I was in a dental chair we were attacked. I’ve got a pretty bad toothache and my face is swelling up a bit. I know I need a dentist but I’m worried about how I’ll respond in the chair. Also, I’m not sure if any of my PTSD meds will interfere with treatment.

Cory N.

Dear Cory,

Someone asleep from sedation dentistry

I want to thank you for all the sacrifices you’ve made to keep your country safe. I know you’re still sacrificing too, so please know it doesn’t go unappreciated. I understand your concern about the dental chair. Even patients who haven’t been through what you have struggle in the dental chair.

Given your situation, I’d recommend dental sedation. This will completely relax you in the dental chair and won’t interfere with your PTSD medication, though it is important to tell whichever dentist you go to all the medication you’re on. That way if the sedation meds they use could interfere, they’d be sure to use a different one for you.

Avoiding Dental Emergencies Using Dental Sedation

With your face starting to swell, it likely means you have a dental infection. Don’t put this off. In fact, if you don’t have a dentist call an emergency dentist and ask if they do oral conscious sedation. What you don’t want is for this infection to spread to your brain or heart, both of which are close to your jaw. It will become life-threatening very quickly.

One thing to be aware of is this medicine is strong. While you can stay awake if you want to, most patients sleep through the procedure. Because of its strength, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. You’ll be a little loopy.

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

What Went Wrong With My Last Dental Sedation Case?

I’ve had five procedures which required dental sedation. Until this last one, everything went smoothly. I have switched dentists mostly because of a move to another city. But, this time was different. The procedure itself went similar to the others, but after I got home my heart started racing and I had trouble breathing. I was on my way to call an ambulance when the nausea kicked in so I just lay where I was on the floor until it passed. That’s never happened to me before. Do you know what could have happened?

Milus R.

Dear Milus,

Libertyville Sedation Dentist

The Importance of an Attentive Caregiver With Dental Sedation

We all know a good dentist is important. But, the fact that your dentist let you leave after a dental sedation procedure alone, is very concerning. Those types of details need to be attended to. A patient doesn’t always understand the post-operative care procedure and it needs to be overseen by the dentist.

When you have dental sedation, you not only need someone to drive you to and from your appointment, but to stay with you for a while after the appointment as well. I hope you didn’t have to drive yourself home. One of the reasons for a caregiver is you’ll be unsteady on your feet so it’s helpful to have someone who can get things for you and help you to the restroom. Another reason is because of what happened to you. What if your heart rate rose so high you ended up having a heart attack. As it was, you couldn’t make it to the phone. Imagine if your breathing and heart rate didn’t calm down. You could have died.

What Went Wrong With Your Dental Sedation?

I wasn’t there so anything I say in this case is a suggestion. Two possibilities come to mind. The first is your new dentist uses a different type of sedation medication than your old dentist and your body reacts to it poorly. There’s an easy way to find out. Call the office, let them know what happened and ask them to call your old dentist. If it’s a different mixture of sedation, they can be sure to use the other kind with you.

Another possibility is if you’ve had any medication changes or are taking anything new that’s over the counter. These things can affect the way the sedation works. Be sure you’ve told your new dentist about any medications, including over the counter meds, that you’re taking. He’ll be familiar (or at least should be) with any interactions.

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

Should the Changed in Sedation Dentistry Laws Worry Me?

I’m really worried. I’m scheduled to have my wisdom teeth removed. I’m 27 so I’m a little late in the game. I recently read they’re changing the dental laws because the way dentists currently do dental sedation isn’t as safe as it should be. But, (and here’s the part which worries me) it doesn’t take effect until 2019.  As I’ve waited this long, would it be safer for me to put this off until 2019?

Serena E.

Dear Serena,

Libertyville Sedation Dentist

I’m going on the assumption you live in California because that’s the only state that currently has changes as you’ve described taking effect in 2019.  If that’s not correct, let me know so I can look up the changes you’re referring to. Each state makes their own laws with regard to medical and dental regulations.

I can understand why you’re concerned. The way they’ve postured this in the media, you’d think dentist were mavericks, knocking off patients left and right. Fortunately, the reality of the situation is quite different. In fact, they’re mostly the result of politicians using the death of a young girl to get in the media. The proposed changes won’t make much of a difference to children and are a great example of our modern tendency to value symbolism over substance.

In your case, there will be no effect on how your sedation is done. The majority of the changes impact sedation for kids. For example, if a sedation dentist treats a child under age seven, he will have to have three people present, including an anesthesia provider who will monitor the patient’s vitals the entire time. When a child under age 11 is being treated, there will need to be two people present. It also addresses the training and credentialing of the individuals providing treatment.

The California Dental Association issued a statement regarding the legislation. “CDA also has concerns about the lack of an evidence base for a separate provider, noting that an analysis of pediatric anesthesia deaths that occurred over six years in California found that there was no pattern in the circumstances, providers or settings surrounding the deaths. A recent analysis by the Texas Dental Board failed to find additional safety with a separate anesthesia provider, leading to the fear that a separate anesthesia provider requirement provides a false assurance of safety for families and may negatively impact access to this essential service.”

In other words, it was unnecessary because it doesn’t really change the safety. Dentists are already required to have constant monitoring, as well as have people on staff who can respond quickly in an emergency. The only thing it does do is add an unnecessary financial burden to low-income families because of the cost of the additional bodies.

Wisdom tooth removal has a higher chance of complications the longer you wait to have them removed. In your place, I’d not wait for 2019. You don’t want to end up in an emergency situation.

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