• Dental Phobia Support

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Fear of not being able to swallow, need advice!



Junior member
Dec 7, 2023
Arizona, USA
Hi everyone, I am new to this forum and need advice ASAP!
I am very prone to cavities and have had a lot of work done on my teeth (I'm only 25).

I've never liked the dentist, but it's only been the past year that my dental anxiety suddenly became really bad out of nowhere.
In January I went in to get a cavity drilled and I was panicking due to not being able to close my mouth to swallow, and gagged while the drill was in my mouth. My anxiety had NEVER been this bad before.
I also needed a root canal on #10, and the dentist recommended me Xanax because there would be a rubber dam in my mouth. But I've put off getting the root canal out of fear, and because I've never taken Xanax and don't know what it's like, and I also have a really hard time swallowing pills due to feeling like I'm gonna choke. It's frustrating because I know these fears are irrational.
I had a root canal when I was 15, and although it wasn't fun, I never had these issues. But now 10 years later my anxiety has gotten so bad.

Then on November 22 I finally went in to get the root canal and 7 new cavities that needed to be filled.
I tried nitrous oxide for about a minute or two but it was making me more anxious, because of how "thick" the air felt - it felt hard to breathe in. I have a fear of not being able to breathe. But then when I took the mask off, the high felt good. I just didn't like how it felt breathing it in..
He gave me shots (I'm fine with shots/needles surprisingly) but it made my left nostril numb, which freaked me out because I couldn't feel my nostril getting air to breathe. Then the dentist tried to insert the rubber dam (I didn't have the nitrous on anymore) and I was panicking because I couldn't close my mouth to swallow, and finally told him I can't do it. And he said "We're done. We're done." and left the room and didn't say goodbye to me. Then I went home bawling and beating myself up.

So I searched for a new dentist that offers sedation, and I went there yesterday. Their website says they have both IV sedation and general anesthesia. I asked the dentist about IV sedation, but for some reason he gave me forms to fill out for the general anesthesia instead. I'm confused, are they the same thing? The general anesthesia (being completely knocked out) is $700 an hour, and it'd be at least 3 hours. I can't afford that!

So I am looking for advice about what I should do for my anxiety when it comes to getting a root canal and cavities, and not spend $2,100 on anesthesia.
Should I take Xanax, Valium, or Halcion? Will it really help me?
My main issue: Not being able to close my mouth to swallow. Using the suction thing for my spit doesn't help me feel better. I feel the need to be able to close my mouth to swallow.
I need something that helps me not care at all about what's happening, and not think about needing to swallow. Nitrous wasn't working for me sadly. Maybe if I had tried it longer, I would've liked it.

Thanks in advance <3
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