Dental Dam-Why oh why?!

FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

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Not sure where you're located, but you may want to look at the dentist recommendations part of the forum. This is one way to find a dentist who others have experienced as kind/compassionate.
 
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Deck2015

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I've had dental dam several times for treatment. Occasionally on back teeth and recently on #7 for RCT. Honestly, having it up front on 7 was as easy as having it on a rear molar...it keeps all the debris and solutions and fluids from your mouth and it makes the process easier for the dentist too...the latter is enough to make me appreciate the dam. You want the most precise, professional, complete "work" performed on your precious teeth (we only get these stupid 2 sets of them!! And we pay so much for treatment!!) -- Having it on 7 didn't keep me from feeling like I could breathe...the assistant trimmed it down for me so it didn't cover my entire mouth. Having it on a rear molar didn't make me feel suffocated either but I've only recently been dental-phobic so maybe I didn't care as much then? Long time ago. A good Dentist will be able and agree to trim the dam down to make precise space for his/her work while keeping you safe from debris and materials and keeping you comfortable, too.

Suggest oral sedation for any appointment that will require a dental dam...? Any thoughts on that idea? Maybe if you do it with oral sedation the first time, you'll have a positive experience so you're not as anxious the next time you need dental dam? Just a thought.
 
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skippy1712

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This dentist doesn't do sedation of any kind according to the website. I am assuming he will at least numb it.
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

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He WILL numb you! Also, it may be worth calling to see if they will prescribe a benzodiazepine (like Valium). This is what Deck meant by oral sedation. I don't know that there are any dentists who won't do this.

When is your appointment?
 
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skippy1712

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The only thing they offer is nitrous oxide which I cannot have because I do not react well to it. Even if I went somewhere different that did, it wouldn't help because I am single and have no option but to drive myself. I react very badly to most anesthetics. My dentist has actually started using a different numbing medicine on me because the typical one doesn't wear off for me like normal.

The appointment is Monday.
 
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sharon

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Skippy, I've had 8 or 10 rc, all with rubber dams, as well as other stuff with rubber dams and never, ever once did I have trouble breathing. They do not block your airways in any way at all. As far as comfort levels go, I think an rc is one of the easier procedures to get through as there is so little drilling or water spraying all over the place. It's almost relaxing as there is so much slow repetive motion as he is cleaning out the root. At first the rubber dam does feel a little strange, after all it is a new experience, but then you get used to it That's a great idea Dr. Mike had in which you let the dentist put it on before starting any work so you can see how it feels. And it is important to let the dentist know you are aprehensive. He's working on you, he needs to know how to best help you. It's nothing to be embarrassed about, you will not be his first nervous patient.

What country are you in? If in the US, your dentist should be able to give you a prescription for a couple of valium tablets or if he can't your regular docor should be able to. However, I don't know your medical history or if you are on any other meds so that must be taken into consideration. Also, if you are driving and you aren't used to taking valium then you should probably have someone else drive but I understand from what you have written that may not be possible. Do you have a friend or family member who can take you, or are you on the bus line? Headphones and some good music can also be a big help in getting you through this.
 
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skippy1712

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I am in the US, but from what I have gathered this particular doctor only offers gas as an option.
I am currently out of town (which is why there has been a two week wait) so would be unable to get with my regular doctor, but you are correct that no matter what I have to drive myself. There are busses in our area but they don't have wide service. Also, when I leave o have to drive to another town where my dentist is so he can finish what this guy starts. They are good suggestions, just not workable in my particular scenario. Thank you for taking the time to share them though.
I am glad you were able to breathe. I suppose it is dumb to be concerned about this with so many people saying they did not have a problem with it at all.
 
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Tink

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Hey - if it makes you feel any better, it's not dumb to worry about it, it's totally normal - this seems to be by far the most common concern people have about the rubber dam. It's a weird concept to wrap your head around, it goes against all of our natural instincts so you're by no means alone in that.

Glad to see so many people able to give you their own positive stories.
 
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mariuscia

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my dentist used it twice with me. the first time was in a frontal tooth, i had no problem with it, i think he left a space on the side of my mouth to breath. last time, he used it in my back molar and it closed all my mouth. i had nausea because of the location of the tooth and i thought i couldn't breath, i started panicking and i cried lol. my dentist told me if i wanted to stop, i said no so he made a hole in the dam so i could breath easier.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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I just had my first root canal in March and experienced my first rubber dam. Like you, I Googled it non-stop leading up to my appointment and completely freaked myself out. However, turns out I had absolutely no problem with it and dare I say, I actually preferred it! I had a slight panic moment initially as the dam was being put on but once I realized that I could breathe and swallow normally I was perfectly fine. I was numb before they put the dam in place but the clips just felt like a bit of pressure around my tooth initially and after awhile I didn't notice it anymore. You can breath normally through your nose/mouth and swallow with the dam in place. Your nose is not covered and as others have said the frame around the dam pulls the edges up and away from your face by several inches so there is a large open gap around the sides of your mouth.

If you have a strong gag reflex like I do or just hate all of the water/debris spray you may actually like the dam because it serves as a barrier to keep the dentist out of your mouth and only working on the exposed teeth. The rest of your mouth stays clean and dry which is much more comfortable in my opinion. My biggest suggestion with the dam would be to make sure you establish a stop signal with your dentist because it does feel like it impedes your ability to communicate while it's on which is probably my biggest source of anxiety but as others have said, it can be removed quickly and easily if needed.
 
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comfortdentist

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This past week I was able to perform 13 restorations all at once without a complaint by the anxious patient because I had the rubber dam on and I made sure he had profound anesthesia. The time of the rubber dam being on was like 45 minutes.
 
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skippy1712

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I did survive the dental dam. I don't the feeling of it, but I can see its benefits.

I was very surprised that I really could breath with no difficulty with it on. The feeling I didn't care for was where it was touching my face. I think it was actually because of the way the numbing causes a cold sensation. It made it feel like my face was wet underneath it so I kept thinking I was drooling or something. I wasn't at all, it was just an odd sensation.

I am glad it wasn't the device of torture I anticipated, but I hope I never need any dental work beyond a cleaning again!
 
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