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Crippling anxiety ahead of root canal

conqueringfears

conqueringfears

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
89
Location
Ohio
Hi everyone. I have one week left until my first root canal treatment. Waking up everyday in an utter panic. I have had 3 root canals done, last being about 7 years ago, but my goodness.... my mind is treating me like this is a danger. That's due to an extreme phobia of numbing (the injections make me feel jittery and my heart races) and an extreme fear of having a medical emergency in the chair. I don't know what to do to take care of myself because nothing is working. I keep telling myself it'll be an hour or two of life, and then it'll be done. I am so worried about how I will behave in that chair due to this crippling fear. I don't know how to deal with this. My anxiety is literally telling me I am going to not make it through, like death and doom are bound to happen.

I was prescribed Halcion but being in a more sedated state makes me worry a lot. I would rather take a Xanax or Ativan to help with my nerves but so that I can still be more alert than not. Sedative type medicines never make me feel good and Xanax or Ativan have both worked in the past to help calm me but not zombie me out. I am scared to even call the dentist to ask if it's okay to take Xanax or Ativan instead :(
 
Last edited:
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,970
Location
The Hague , Holland
Hi conqueringfears,

I don’t recommend taking Halcion, it will probebly not help you deal with the stress during the treatment. There are several reasons for that, but the most important one is that it impairs your ability to connect with the dentist during treatment and I truly believe that the key for overcoming dental anxiety and stress is a good bond with the dentist.
Regarding the palpation: it probebly has to do with the Adrenaline that most anesthetic solutions have. I would suggest asking the dentist to wait at least 3 minutes after the anesthesia is given. This will allow your heartbeat to calm down and increase the numbing effect.
 
N

Nicci

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2016
Messages
50
Hi, how did you do with your previous RCT?

The last time I had anesthesia with adrenaline I had the same - racing heart. I do have a minor heart condition, medication (for something else, that can affect anesthesia) and general anxiety though.. so which was the cause I'll never know! In the end I was about to pass out so he didn't continue. I was told if my heart rate continued to rise he did have something to reverse the anesthesia.. I hoped that was the truth(!), but I don't know enough tbh. I didn't need it though, it rectified itself with a bit of waiting & lying down.

I now have anesthesia without adrenaline but if I'm honest it wears off quite quickly, I'm not sure if that's what it does in general or if I'm so worked up it's adding to it leaving my system quicker - either way, I've had less (much less) occasions when I've felt something with the anesthesia with adrenaline, than without.

As someone with anxiety (and a dodgy heart) I appreciate how terrifying a fast heart rate and/or palpitations are..
I used to find the 5 Things anxiety tool helpful in moments of fear.. '5 things you can hear, 4 you can smell, 3 you can taste..' etc etc (or whatever it was - Id have to look it up now)! But in a dentist setting that wasn't quite so helpful!! Listening to music or a book is a lot better for me in that situation, it also drowns out a lot of the frightening noises and makes the time go quicker.

I'm sure you'll be fine - good luck x
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,740
Hi guys, @conqueringfears has posted an update here:


Sounds as if it went really well 👍!
 
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