Category Archives: Sedation Dentist

Dental Treatment While in Addiction Recovery

I have been dealing with an opiate addiction. I am on the path to recovery and am in a methadone program to help with that. I go to counseling regularly and have a full time job now. I’m even working toward going back to school. the problem I’m having is my teeth. Due to my addiction, I really neglected them and now need a ton of work done. I do have a bit of dental anxiety and am having trouble finding a dentist willing to provide me with any dental sedation, let alone pain medication after the procedure. I’ve offered to give each of them the number of the clinic that provides my methadone and even will sign a waiver to let them have access to my records there. Still no one is willing to help me. If you have any suggestions or advice for me I would be quite grateful.

Once I get my teeth healthy, I’m hoping to spruce up how they look, but I think just getting them in shape will cost most of my savings.

Damien


Dear Damien,

An image of a woman resting in a dental chair with dental sedation to relax her
Sedation Dentist is sometimes dubbed sleep dentistry because you are so relaxed.

You are in a tough position. In case nobody has said it to you recently, you are doing amazing things getting your life back on track. It is hard picking yourself up like that and you seem to be crushing it! That is something to be proud of.

Though you are probably feeling judged, what is more likely happening is that the dentists are afraid of the D.E.A.. There have been stories circulating about dentists getting in trouble just for being compassionate and prescribing extra pain meds.

I think you will be able to find someone who is willing to help you. Start by calling dentists whose website says they offer dental sedation. Just keep calling. You will find someone.

As for sprucing them up. An inexpensive way to make a huge difference in the appearance of your smile is to have teeth whitening done. That one simple procedure will take years off their appearance.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Dealing with a High Resistance to Novocaine

I am 27 years old and have horrible teeth. Dental work is almost impossible for me because I have a high resistance to Novocain which makes it almost impossible to get numb. I’m thinking my only option is to remove my teeth and get dentures. I want to move up in my career and feel my smile is really holding me back. I am assuming that I can get the teeth removed with anesthesia, right?

Amelia


Dear Amelia,

Woman with beautiful smile

Before you do anything drastic, like remove all your teeth, I want togive you a solution that will allow you to keep your natural teeth, have a beautiful smile, and not get tortured at the dentist because of your high resistance to Novocain.

There is a huge connection between the inability to get numb and dental anxiety. Given your traumatizing experiences with dental care, I would not be surprised if you had a very high anxiety level.

This anxiety amps up your metabolism, which burns off the numbing medication before it can do anything. I recommend you see a sedation dentist who offers oral conscious sedation.

This is administered by a pill which will completely relax you. In fact, it is so strong that it has been dubbed sleep dentistry because most patients just snooze through their entire procedure. You will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as stay with you for a few hours until you are lucid and steady on your feet again. But, this will change your life and you’ll be able to get that work done on your teeth without pain or anxiety.

Why You Don’t Want Dentures

images of before and after facial collapse
The result of facial collapse

When your teeth are removed,  your body recognizes that and immediately begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere in your body. In about ten or so years, you will no longer have enough of your jawbone left to retain your dentures. Dentists call this facial collapse. You are only 27 years old, this is NOT what you want.

While there is a way to prevent this, it is expensive. You could have dental implants placed that your dentures would anchor to. The implants are like prosthetic tooth roots, so your body recognizes that you have teeth there and leaves your jawbone intact.

Before you go this route, I think trying dental sedation will truly solve your issue.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Need Advice about a Tooth Extraction

Years ago I had an infected tooth. I avoided the dentist because I have never had a good experience with one. When I could not take the pain anymore, I schedule an appointment. He said the tooth was infected and performed a root canal treatment. I was supposed to schedule a follow-up appointment for the cap, but never did. I probably should have because it seems like the tooth got reinfected. It hurt again and pieces started falling off. I went to another dentist who confirmed the infection. I received quite a lecture about the state of my teeth and not getting regular care. He told me it would be a tough extraction. The best he could offer me was nitrous oxide. If I didn’t think I was able to handle the procedure, he could refer me to an oral surgeon. I was thinking I would go with the oral surgeon. However, it turns out they are a LOT more expensive. Would I be able to get this done with a dentist and it not be an absolute nightmare or do I need to take out a loan and see the oral surgeon?

Imogen

Dear Imogen,

Woman resting in dental chair from dental sedation

I am going to say right off the bat that this dentist you saw will not be the best dentist for you. What you need is compassion and a solution, not a lecture. That does not lend toward helping patients feel comfortable going to the dentist.

You should not have to take out a loan and go to an oral surgeon for this extraction. The right dentist can do this extraction for you. What I think you need is a dentist who offers other, stronger, dental sedations options, such as oral conscious sedation.

They are generally more compassionate with anxious patients than the dentist you just experienced. Let them look at the tooth and tell you whether or not they can do the extraction. My guess is you will find someone. It sounds more like this dentist was out of his comfort level and was trying to push  the blame off on you.

With oral conscious sedation, you are not knocked out, but will be so completely relaxed that you will be able to sleep completely through the procedure if you want to.  Most patients who use dental sedation find it completely changes their life and they are able to get the dental care they have always wanted.

The only downside is, because of its strength, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment, as well as stay with you for a few hours after the procedure. They will want to make certain you are lucid and steady on your feet.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Help! My Five Year Old’s Teeth are Rotting!

I have a five year old daughter. Three of her molars are decayed. I brush her teeth twice a day and floss. I do take her to the dentist but she is remarkably uncooperative. Every appointment is embarassing. First, what is going on with her teeth? Second, how do I get this necessary work done with her being so difficult?

Edith

Dear Edith,

Little girl smiling in a dental chair

I can tell that you are a caring mother and are doing your best to take care of your child. Let’s start with the most urgent issue first. She needs this work done on her molars for two reasons:

  1. If left untreated, this can turn into a dental emergency. When those are left untreated, it can become life threatening.
  2. Molars need to be kept until the child is about twelve years old. Otherwise, the other teeth will drift and it will lead to crowding when her permanent molars come in. That will mean expensive orthodontics. If a molar is so far gone that it cannot be saved, make sure your pediatric dentist places a space maintainer there in order to prevent that issue.
papoose board
Papoose Board

If she is uncooperative, you will either need to have the dentist use a papoose board or dental sedation. The work has to be done for her own good.

As to the second issue of why. Some of it may be genetics, but you didn’t mention this problem with your teeth. My strong suspicion is that she either snacks a lot or has lots of drinks thoughout the day that are not water.

Most people don’t know that one of your biggest allies in the fight against decay is your saliva. It contains bacteria fighting minerals. However, if someone is snacking often or having lots of sugary/citrusy drinks throughout the day then it doesn’t get the time it needs to do its job.

My suggestion is to limit her to one snack a day and make sure she is drinking lots of water instead of juices and sodas. This may be a tough adjustment for her, but if you hold the line, she’ll adjust to the new rules.

I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Dentist Cannot Get Me Numb

My dentist tried a paste and seven injections and still could not get me numb. I am in desperate need of a root canal treatment, but the procedure was too excruciating. He ended the appointment and refunded my money. He told me he’d do some research, but I may need to get this extracted surgically with anesthesia if we can’t do the root canal treatment. I really want to save the tooth if possible. He prescribed me some more antibiotics and said he’d be in touch before the prescription runs out. Do you have any way that I can avoid losing this tooth?

Angela

Dear Angela,

Woman resting in dental chair from dental sedation

I am sorry for the horrible experience you went through. The fact that you still want to try and save your tooth says a lot about your character and perseverance.

The good news is I have a solution for you. It sounds like your dentist may not yet be aware of the connection between dental anxiety and the ability to get numb.

When you have a high level of dental anxiety, which many do, your metabolism can burn off the numbing medication before it can be of any use to you.

While you cannot just will your anxiety away, there is a medication that sedation dentists can provide for you that will do it for you. Not only will the medication completely relax you, but if you wanted to you would be able to completely sleep through your entire appointment.  Because of this, some people have dubbed it sleep dentistry.

My suggestion is you see a dentist who offers oral conscious sedation. This is administered by a pill that you will take before your appointment. Be aware that it is strong. In fact, it is so strong you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as stay with you for a few hours after your appointment. This will be important because you will still be a bit woozy and unsteady on your feet. I would plan on a day of napping or binge-watching your favorite streaming channel.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

 

Sedation Dentistry for Severely Autistic Child

I have a non-verbal, severely autistic child. Most of the time he is a perfect angel. But, when he has an episode it can be a bit nightmarish. He has a dental appointment coming up. I’ve opted for using a sedation dentist. I know he’ll be fine once the sedation takes affect, but how do I prepare him for the appointment leading up to the sedation? I want it to go as smoothly as possible so he will not dread dental care.

Sherri

Dear Sherri,

Child receiving treatment from a dentist

I can tell right away that you are a great mother. This alone will help your son with every obstacle he will face. I also feel that sedation dentistry is a great choice for your child, so way to go with that decision. Here are some things you can do to help with your son’s appointment.

Communication is Key

This is true of almost everything. However, with any medical procedure, it is even more important. The first thing I would do is make sure your sedation dentist has a complete medical history on your son. Let them know of any special considerations, such as mobility issues, etc. Is he able to swallow pills or will he need a liquid sedation? Will he need a caregiver with him? You can even tell them about his likes and dislikes.

Get to Know the Place

Some dentists are willing to let patients, especially children, make a visit to the office before their appointment. They can see the rooms, meet the staff, and just have fun without anyone trying to do any treatment for them. If your dentist doesn’t do that, then you can show them pictures of the office from their website. These usually have images of happy patients in them.

Bring Security Items

Are there things that help your son feel more comfortable, such as a special blanket, or stuffed animal? If so, bring them. Does he like music? Let him listen to music. As you know, autistic children do better with routine. If there is a certain part of the day he does better with “errands”, then see if they can schedule you during that time, so it is more natural for him.

I’m sure things will go smoothly.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Should I Take My Son to a Sedation Dentist

I’m sort of kicking of myself for how my son’s last dental appointment went. He’s been going to my dentist for all his check ups. This last appointment didn’t go so well. He’s six year old and normally does so well. This time, however, he was a bit fidgety. Our dentist said he had a cavity and mentioned that he could take care of it right then. My son melted down and slid out of the chair and started crying. He didn’t let anyone touch him. Now I’m wondering if I should have not tried to bring him to a sedation dentist. Now I am afraid he’ll never cooperate at the dentist again. Did I ruin his view of the dentist by not planning ahead?

Callie Anne

Dear Callie Anne,

Children in a line smiling

I’m glad you wrote. I don’t think you’ve completely ruined your son. Hindsight is always 20/20 so don’t judge yourself too harshly. You obviously care about your son and have been careful to take care of his oral health. It is equally obvious that your dentist is not used to working with children. Had he been familiar with children, he would not have just sprung a new procedure on your son like that. Children need a little bit of preparation for the unfamiliar.

My suggestion to you is similar to what you’ve already figured out. It would help him adjust back to the dentist by having sedation for this filling. I don’t think he would need anything strong, such as oral conscious sedation. Just some nitrous oxide would be enough to relax him enough to be calm and allow the dentist to do the work.

However, I am also going to suggest you look for another dentist for your son. It does not have to be a pediatric dentist. Instead, you could see a general dentist who is good with children. One way to know if they enjoy children is to ask what age they are first willing to see them. If they first see children around two years old, you can know that they enjoy working with children. If they want to wait until they are around five years old, then I would look for someone else.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Discouraged About My Teeth

I have had trouble with my teeth my entire life. I started needing root canal treatments in my teen years. My dentists always assumed I was not taking care of my teeth. This was absolutely not true. I brush my teeth twice a day AND floss. I have done this since I was a kid. Despite that, I always have tons of cavities. Yet, friends of mine that hardly care about their teeth seem to skate by cavity free. One of my low points was my sophomore year of college. One of my front teeth had a root canal treatment in my teen years. However, my parents could not afford to get a crown put on it. Here I am, year two in my university with a tooth which had turned gray. As if that wasn’t bad enough, my tooth literally crumbled. I was humiliated with half a tooth in the front of my mouth. I was afraid to speak and never smiled. Eventually, I saved up enough to get a dental crown from a dentist within walking distance of my dorm. But, the crown doesn’t match any of my other teeth and looks obviously fake. Fast forward. I’m married and my husband has some dental insurance. I went to see a dentist and he said that my mouth was a mess and I should consider just extracting my teeth and getting dentures. I’m only 27 years old and have spent the last two days crying at the idea. Is there no other solution for someone in my situation?

Callie

Dear Callie,

Woman with beautiful smile

I am sorry you have been faced with either lazy or judgmental dentists. Believe it or not, most dentists went into their field because they want to help people. You’ve seemed to have gotten a couple of duds. I am going to be honest with you and say that your current dentist is not going to be the best dentist for you.

Some patients, like yourself, can do everything right and still end up with high maintenance teeth. It’s the genetic lottery and you didn’t get the big prize. However, there are a few things you can do to help yourself.

Do NOT Get Dentures

before and after facial collpase
Before and After Facial Collapse
Whatever you do, please do not get your teeth extracted and get dentures. Once your teeth are removed, your body will immediately begin to resorb the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere in your body.

This will have the side effect of shrinking your jawbone. After ten or so years, you will no longer have enough jawbone left to keep your dentures in place. Not to mention that it will age your appearance by decades. This is totally avoidable and I don’t want you to have to face such severe consequences when there are options.

Find a Sedation Dentist Willing to Invest in Your Teeth

The first thing I want you to do is find another dentist, one who is totally willing to invest as much work as necessary to fix your teeth. Ideally, you should look for a sedation dentist. The benefit to this, aside from anxiety-free/pain-free appointments, is that it will allow you to get more work done during each appointment. This enables you to catch up faster.

A Simple Step You Can Take

Most people think oral hygiene is all they need to keep their cavities at bay. The truth is, however, that brushing generally only gets to the smooth surfaces of your teeth. In order to get into all those cracks and crevices, you need your saliva to have time to do the beavy lifting. Our saliva is loaded with bacteria fighting minerals. However, if you snack a lot it doesn’t have enough time to do the work. If possible, limit your eating to three times a day and only one snack. This gives your saliva more time to work. Doing this simple step will allow you to reduce your chance of cavities.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Dentist Cut Me and I Want a Refund?

My last dental appointment was a disaster. I needed a crown on one tooth and a dental filling on another tooth. It was a two-hour procedure that went from bad to worse, he splashed some type of chemical that got in my eye and burned like mad. Then, he cut my lip with a dental tool. As if that was not enough, he then slipped with the dental drill and cut my tongue. In all this, not only did he not once apologize, but he tried to blame me. He said that none of it would have happened if I would have stayed still like I was supposed to. Is there a way to get a refund from this jerk?

Sunny W.

Dear Sunny,

Woman resting from dental sedation

Unfortunately, though he seems to have very poor skills, I don’t think you’ll be able to get a refund…or an apology. A lawsuit would not really be worth your time or money because I don’t think you could demonstrate there has been enough damage to even cover the cost of the suit. The only thing you can do is write a review warning other potential patients about his lack of abilities and consideration. That will make a dent in his business.

As for the wiggling. Even if you were wiggling, he could have stopped and figured out why you were so uncomfortable so the procedure could have continued safely. My suggestion is for your next dentist you look for someone who is a sedation dentist. They can offer you medication that will completely relax you for the duration of your procedure.

Some options are mild, such as nitrous oxide which allows you to get on with your day as soon as the procedure is completed. If you want something stronger, I’d recommend oral conscious sedation. Though it is administered with a pill, it is so strong that you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as stay with you for several hours after the procedure. You will be loopy and unsteady on your feet.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Can’t Get Numb At Dentist

I have always had a hard time getting numb at the dentist. My last appointment was no different. In fact, I would call it torture. I’m about to give up and just extract all my teeth and get dentures. Before I do that, though, I just wanted to check and see if you have ever encountered this with other patients. If so, did you find a solution for them?

Jason

Dear Jason,

Man in pain in need of an emergency dentist

Please don’t extract all of your teeth. Dentures cause more problems than they solve. I do have a solution for you. Many dentists are not aware of the connection between dental anxiety and numbing medication. The higher the anxiety, the less effective the medication. There is something that happens to your metabolism with fear that kicks in and tends to burn off the numbing medication before it has a chance to really work for you.

The key is to make certain the patient is completely relaxed before administering the Novocaine so that it has a chance to really kick in. What you need is a sedation dentist. These dentists are used to working with anxious patients and have medication that can help you relax.

In your case, I am going to suggest you use oral conscious sedation. This is administered by a pill. However, it will relax you so much that you could sleep through your entire procedure.

Patients who’ve used oral conscious sedation have their lives changed and their ability to get their dental care done in a pain-free manner restored. Additionally, because you can sleep, your dentist can get more work done at each sitting.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.