I have pretty severe dental anxiety. That is what has left me in the quandary I’m in now. I had a cavity I was afraid to get filled. Then, it became infected and the pain was so bad I had to go back in. This dentist did a root canal treatment. That was excruciating for me so I chickened out about coming back for the crown. As a result, the tooth got re-infected. Now the dentist says it needs to be extracted. He told me it would be pretty extensive and there would likely be a need to cut into bone. He gave me the choice between doing it with an oral surgeon using anesthesia or having it cost less using him. I don’t want it to cost more but I also don’t want to have a problem because I didn’t want to spend money. What is the right thing to do?
It was unfair of your dentist to put you in that position. He made it sound as if you didn’t go to an oral surgeon, the treatment was risky. It’s not. One thing I wonder is whether or not your dentist feels out of his depth and therefore he’s trying to encourage you to go elsewhere for your procedure.
I would ask him how comfortable he is with the procedure and how much experience he has with this type of extraction. If he’s comfortable with it, there is no reason you can’t do it with your dentist. The anxiety issue can be solved in a way where you can have a pain free appointment.
Sedation Dentistry—the Solution to Dental Anxiety
There are dentists who provide sedation in-office. Most offer two levels of sedation: nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation.
This is administered with a nosepiece, as you see in the picture above. You breathe in nitrous oxide right before your procedure. It will relax you and help your numbing medicine become more effective. This is most useful for someone with mild dental anxiety.
A benefit of this type of sedation is once the procedure is over the dentist changes the gas to oxygen and you are lucid again in just a few moments and ready to get on with your day as normal.
Oral Conscious Sedation
If your anxiety is a bit more severe or the procedure is extensive, you may want oral conscious sedation. This is a pill you take before your appointment. It will completely relax you. It’s so strong, most patients sleep through the procedure.
Because of its strength, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as stay with you for several hours afterward until you are clear-headed and steady on your feet.
You are likely to find that this helps you with your anxiety and helps you get to the dentist more often. This will help prevent any further dental emergencies as well.
This blog is brought to you by Tulsa dentist Dr. Jerome Cha.