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Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ideas?



Junior member
May 4, 2007
I have been going to the dentist for over 30 years (Fillings, Crowns, Wisdom tooth extractions) without any problems. Then this past year I attempted an MRI exam. I panicked from the enclosed space and had to stop. Then a funny thing happened at my next dental visit. Upon laying down in the chair I experienced that same panic sensation. It stopped after a few minutes and I was able to finish the checkup. Well last week I needed a root canal and crown for a cracked tooth. This time I panicked after laying back in the chair and this time I had to cancel the procedure. This makes no sense to me. What is going on here? I don't fear pain or the procedure at all and I trust my dentist of almost 20 years. It is like I'm claustrophobic, fear of restraint or a loss of control thing.
I have talked with my dentist and my family physician about this. They are very understanding. The procedure has been rescheduled for next week and my family physician is prescribing 0.5 to 1 mg of Xanax for me to take orally before the visit. My questions are (1) how well does this work (2) has anyone else had this type of new onset panic experience and (3) does anyone have any advice on how to handle this? I really could use some words of wisdom...
Re: Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ide

Hello there and welcome, I did oral sedation for my extractions and it worked great! I also did nitrous along with it. Does your dentist offer it?
Re: Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ide

Thanks for the quick reply. I tried the gas but by then I was already too panicked. It didn't seem to do anything. In fact, the nitrous mask just made me more panicked, claustrophobic.
Re: Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ide

Hi there :welcome:,

xanax works really well for many people to take the edge of the panic, but like all oral sedation, it can affect people differently and there is no absolute guarantee that it will work for you. It sounds like it would definitely be worth a go in your situation, though!

The type of new onset panic experiences you've described is very common - an unexpected panic attack followed by panic attacks in situations which somehow remind you of the situation where it first occurred is not at all unusual, but a very common pattern!

I don't know how much you know about panic attacks, but in the long run, it might help you a lot to understand more about them. There are many self-help books on the market, one which looks very good is "Panic Attacks Workbook: A Guided Program for Beating the Panic Trick" by David Carbonell.

There's a good chance that the xanax will work for you in this situation, but I'd also recommend having a read around the general subject of panic and techniques for coping :).

Best of luck :grouphug:
Re: Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ide

Thank you so much! I went out this morning and bought the book. I'm going to use it plus the Xanax. Hopefully with time I can beat this and go back to the way I used to be.
Re: Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ide

Sounds like a great game plan :)!

I haven't read the actual book yet (sounds like you've got great bookshops in your area, lol), but I've read some of David Carbonell's articles on panic on the internet and he's quite a gripping writer (unlike some other panic attack workbooks which might well be effective if they weren't so mindnumbingly boring... let's face it, who likes to do homework?).

Let us know how you get on :thumbsup:
Re: Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ide

Thanks. I'm about 1/3 of the way through it. So far I'm very impressed. I think that this is really going to help. I'll keep you posted. My big day is this coming this Tuesday. Thanks again for this forum it really has been helpful!
Re: Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ide

Glad to hear you're impressed cos I've got it on order from Amazon, lol :p. I've been on the lookout for a book that we can really recommend for ages... most of them are written in a sort of therapist-to-client voice, which can be very off-putting.

All the best for Tuesday :grouphug:
Re: Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ide

SUCCESS!!!!! :jump: For those of you with my type of Dental Phobia (Fear of Fear) I have very good news!! Today I had a crown procedure for a broken tooth and no problems!!! I followed the steps in the book "Panic Attack Workbook" by David Carbonell Phd. Yes I started to have a panic attack several times during the procedure but I followed the steps and each one was snuffed out well before it ever became a problem! I felt so empowered.

If your type of anxiety and panic is like mine (Fear of Fear) then, yes you can take Xanax, Halcion or whatever but in a way that's like taking an aspirin for a fever but it doesn't cure the flu. For me, Carbonell's book I believe will be my cure. I know that I still have a way to go and that there will be ups and downs but for the first time in my life I see the possibility to beat this! Today was an important victory on my road to recovery. Again thanks to all and special thanks to letsconnect!!!!!

I came to this site for advice on oral sedation for my Dental Phobia but I have come away with so much more !!!!

(If the administrator wishes to move this post to the success story section that's fine with me)
Re: Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ide

Hi I wasn't online for the last couple of days but just read your post and I'm thrilled that it went so well for you :jump:! I'm also glad that you found the book so useful - so a special thanks to Dave (Carbonell) who wrote it as well :)! I'm impressed that you managed to apply the tips so quickly - not necessarily an easy thing to do seeing how it seems counterintuitive at first glance :thumbsup:.

Wishing you all the best for the future :grouphug:

(I might move the topic to "success stories" and change the title to "Fear of Fear" if that's ok :) )
Re: Newly phobic, will oral sedation work, any ide

Thanks. I think that my early success may be due to the fact that my panic attacks were situational, not sporatic, and fairly recent in onset. I mean when you have cancelled two procedures (an MRI and the recent root canal/ crown procedure) that you had previously done without problems you start to question yourself and ask what's wrong with me? The two panic attacks had basically set the stage for me to fail. I laughed several times as I read Carbonell's book because his explanations were so intuitive. It was like someone taking the blindfold off and revealing panic attacks for the trick they are. Once you know that you are still scared but you know that it's a "paper tiger" that you are dealing with. I'm I totally well? No, I still felt like I was going to have the attacks yet I averted them. Now I have to go to work and practice the exercizes in the book. I'm still a little scared but I feel like I really have a shot to beat this. Thanks again!