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?
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.