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Some much needed reassurance for all



Apr 22, 2017
Good morning everyone! Well...at least it’s morning here!

My name is Scott and I have dental and dentist anxiety just like all of you. It used to be much worse. Let me start at the beginning of my story. This will be a long read but I promise to give you all of my tips, tricks and what I know to work for me. I hope my advice can help for you as well!

I should preface this by saying that my grandmother has gum disease. So I have to believe at a Laymans level that it is hereditary.

But aside from that, this goes back to when I was a child. Plain and simply, I never brushed and I have zero idea why. I enjoyed going to my fathers dentist. They had fun waiting room games! As the years went on, and the brushing almost ceased to exist being a thing, my teeth of course got worse. And of course my dentist was not pleased. Eventually he said my teeth looked atrocious and they started bleeding and said I needed a specialist. Who can I blame but myself? I wished I had taken better care of my teeth as a child and now I am paying for it as an adult.

fast forward to the year 2010. I was working at Disney World in Florida through a college internship and my teeth were really bad at this point. Gingivitis at the least. My teeth were sore my gums were puffy and every day at work, all I could think about was my painful teeth and how scared I was at the dentist. I hadn’t been in many years, probably not since that one visit as a child. I knew I was going to lose my teeth if I didn’t do something So I made the decision to just call somebody and talk to them. They did their best to reassure me but it was tough talking to them. Fast forward to 2011, I was back in Illinois finishing up college. I was about to go back down to Disney World for a second internship next year. I was also living with my mom at this point. She said she wasn’t letting me go back down until I did something to fix my teeth. I hated her in that moment but she’s my mother and she was just looking out for me. I found a dentist no more than five minutes away call also happens to be a periodontist (a dentist who specializes in periodontal densitry and deep cleaning.) I went there, got my teeth looked at and I was told that I needed a procedure called scaling and root planing. I’ll spare you the specifics, but it’s basically a deep cleaning to remove hardened plaque that cannot be removed with a simple hand tool. I told them I would have to think about it. They told me that my condition was only at gingivitis at that point. Gingivitis as a gum disease that can be reversed and treated. Fast forward a year to 2012. I somehow mustered up the courage to get it done on my own because the fear of losing my teeth was greater than my fear of the pain. I went back to the same dentist that had looked at me a year earlier and they told me that my disease had progressed to periodontal disease (hun disease that CANNOT be treated, just maintained so it doesn’t get worse. GREAT! ??‍♂️

they numbed me up with Novocain and gave me laughing gas to call me down and they did the procedure. The only part that hurt was a few pinches from the needle going in. The rest was cake. My anxiety, however, remained. I hate being in that chair. The only reason I didn’t totally freak out was because they gave me laughing gas. From this point I’ll spare you the specifics of the rest of my story because it gets even longer but basically I had the procedure done several more times because I had gone so long in between visits. But I had built up my knowledge of dentistry, getting to know all of my sedation options and trying to figure out what is best for me because when you have this advanced stage of gum disease, you need to go to the dentist every 3 to 4 months instead of every six.

At this point, I am no longer in need of the scaling and root planing procedure, I simply go every few months for a cleaning and maintenance. But it has been almost a year since I went last because my anxiety still remains plus coronavirus. My next visit is this coming Tuesday. It’s Sunday today. I’m nervous and anxious as always, however not scared. I know all of the options available to me at this point and each time I go I have to remind myself that I either go or I lose my teeth. The cost for full dental implants is thousands of dollars. I forgot to mention that I am still going to the same dentist I saw in 2012 because of their kindness, their patience, their willingness to help and be there for me and answer all my questions.

So how did I get over my fear? I haven’t. It’s still there but I have several options available to me and I also know in my head that I will lose my teeth if I don’t go and it’ll only get worse for me. I know I don’t want that. I psyche myself out every time. So what do I do?

When it comes time to go get a cleaning, i call them to set it up. I first have my dentist call in a prescription of Valium to my pharmacy. It’s two pills, one to take the night before the procedure and one to take the day of. It makes you very drowsy and relaxed. You need a driver to take you to the dentist and drive you home. Second, I request laughing gas. This is a simple breathing apparatus with two tubes they put over your nose. It’s not the most comfortable thing in the world, however I’ve had several different versions, some comfortable and others not so much. My dentist just happens to have a slightly uncomfortable one. That’s not the point though, the point is in addition to the Valium, it makes you giggly and not care so much. It tends to make everything funny as well. Third, I request oraquix (ore A kicks) and possibly Novocain. Novocain is the more painful numbing option. Oraquix is something special, not every dentist offers it. Ask your dentist about it as it could be a tooth-saving, anxiety reducing option! Oraquix is a little hand held applicator tool with a small needle on the end of it. Don’t get ahead of me here. It’s not a sharp needle And it doesn’t go into you. They slip it underneath the gum and deposit the solution into the gum pockets to numb them. It’s not painful. Just weird. It’s much less unpleasant than Novocain. So how does my procedure go?

I take the Valium the night before and listen to soothing rain on YouTube to help me fall asleep. When I wake up, I take a nice hot shower and then put some lavender essential oil on my feet and I also breathe some in. This helps to calm me a bit. Then I take the Valium and watch the funniest things I can find while I wait for the appointment time and my driver to arrive. (Laughter eases tension and makes things easier) try this before your next appointment. When I get there, I use the restroom, I put one earbud in and listen to calming music. You need to keep one ear free so you can listen to their instructions (open, open wider, turn your head, stop licking my tools, etc) ? As I lay in the chair they put the laughing gas tool over my nose and turn on the gas, they have me breath deeply. Soon my head starts to swim (this is not unpleasant, quite the opposite! it almost feels like I’m halfway between sleep and awake and a warmth of relaxation rushes through my body. They then ask me to open my mouth so they can just look around. They stick a mirror in to check all angles. Then the doctor comes in with the oraquix and I shut my eyes. He runs a topical numbing solution on my gums so I don’t quite feel it as much. He wait a few minutes and then applies the oraquix. Then he does the procedure. It should feel like hours but due to the Valium and laughing gas it feels like only 10 minutes! And I feel such arelief rush over me when she says “all done”!

Novocain (for those who don’t know) is a hit more unpleasant. To fully numb your mouth, the doctor needs to make approximately eight injections. He will inject the needle and then massage the gum as he deposits the Novocain to help move it around. Yes it is unpleasant but once I’m numbed up, it’s so much easier. And that is basically how things go. I have given you approximately all the solutions available. The only other one his sedation dentistry. It is very expensive and typically reserved for Lengthy procedures. This is where A sedation specialist comes in, Puts an IV in your arm And actually put you into twilight sleep. You’re not fully asleep because you still need to respond to dentist requests but you won’t remember a damn thing. In most cases, If you go with this option, yo will be paying out of pocket because your insurance won’t cover it unless you have a significant reason for using that option (ie getting your wisdom teeth removed,etc).

there are some other relaxation and gag reducing techniques that I use. Please check out this post to read about them! https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/f...ist-appointment-in-4-years.28820/#post-213337

I am happy to answer any questions to help you out but I hope this has helped you to understand a bit how things go without having to call.
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Hey thanks so much for this. I'm actually due to go for scale and polish tomorrow as well as getting a couple of areas deep cleaned (have 5mm pockets). Can I ask, have you ever taken the oral diazepam and also had the iv sedation (on the same day I mean).
You’re welcome! The only thing I have ever had is the Valium. I personally have never had IV sedation.