• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone with a fear of the dentist, dental phobia, or specific dental fears.

    It's a supportive space to talk to people with similar experiences, and get advice and information.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

Is being put to sleep for root canals an option?



Junior member
Jun 29, 2010
I have very bad teeth and have been unable to afford getting them taken care of. Now, an opportunity has presented itself that will allow me to start on getting my teeth fixed. I am in (and have been for months) excruciating pain (it flares up but goes away and then comes back), but I am also insanely terrified of going to the dentist. I am not afraid of the dentist himself; I have an extremely bad gag reflex, I swallow a lot, and have an irrational fear of swallowing my tongue or any instrument put in mouth. I have unintentially bitten dentists, and have had to have work stopped because I could not stop gagging. I am wondering of the possibility of being put to sleep while getting work (like root canals) done. I have done a little research on sedation dentistry but it says it may not work on extremely phobic patients (me) and I can't handle having a mask over my nose, nor I am able to swallow large pills. Also, I thinik since I need several root canals on different sides of my mouth, the numbing will only work on what is being worked on and the work will cause the unnumbed teeth to hurt (it seems as if any vibration causes my teeth to ache). Could I be put to sleep for such a simple procedure as a root canal?
Thanks for your time.
Prime 711


Former Member
Yes you can. But you need to make sure to find a dentist that will do it first.

So you have to call around or look in the phone book for IV sedation.

IV sedation is expensive though, so if you don't have insurance it will cost a lot.


Well-known member
Jan 23, 2007
Hi, Prime 711.

I am in the same boat with gagging, swallowing issues, etc. and am planning on having a root canal and several fillings under IV sedation this summer. I don't think insurance covers it, and it is expensive in the US (I had several consultations and was quoted $700-1000 an hour), but it is worth it for me at this point.

Pills for oral sedation are very small. I hate large pills too, but these were teeny. I know some places do liquids too for oral sedation.

When you are numb, the whole level is basically a little numb, so I don't think there should be any pain.

Maybe go in for some consultations? You won't have to even open your mouth, and you could talk about prices and options?


Well-known member
Jun 25, 2009
I don't see why not prime711. I had it done years ago (in Dublin) and it was a huge success, sedation, root canal, post and filling. That lasted for at least 12 years, probably more like 15. Then unfortunately I broke off a big bit of tooth and now it's crowned!

Best of luck with it! :D


Junior member
Jun 25, 2010
@Prime711, OMG! I have alot in common with you. I am scared of swallowing those cotton rolls the dentist uses. I can't swallow pills either. Going to the dentist is a nightmare for me! I feel like saliva is pooling in the back of my throat and if I swallow, I will choke to death on whatever the denist has put in my mouth. I hope things work out for you. I know how you feel. Keep us updated.