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What makes me anxious



Junior member
Dec 18, 2019
Birmingham Alabama
I usually get general anesthesia so you’d think there would be little problem with anxiety but you’re wrong. I have constant recurring thoughts and play over and over in my head each step of arriving at the office, siginknv in and so forth. Once I’m the dentist chair I’m alone with the nurse who will not knock me out. The dentist does that and he arrives later. The nurse puts a heart rate monitor that loudly beeps your heart beats, so it’s obvious when it’s increasing which it usually does, making me more anxious. She then attaches all these stickers to my neck and stomach area I guess to monitor blood pressure or something. She then sticks me with an IV that’s supposed to give me something calming but I don’t feel much. Oh and I’m given nitrous which I’ve used before that greatly alleviated my fear only this time the mask is small and doesn’t cover my nose so air leaks from all over so I’m not getting the full effects of the nitrous. I’m getting more anxious trying to get more nitrous. My heart rate seems fast and the nurse is trying to calm me but it’s not working. Soon I’m out so I assume the Dr knocked me out finally. My question is - can’t we streamline some of this? Why do anxious patients need to lay there and worry for any period of time? All that’s needed is to go ahead and knock me out immediately after starting the IV. The heart rate monitor and blood pressure/ everything else can be done once I’m out. No need for the nitrous at all. I mentioned letting the nurse knock me out before my last procedure but I was told this is something only the oral surgeon can do, and he’s never in the room for at least several minutes. Why not have the OS present in the room when I arrive, he knocks me out and then if he needs to leave the nurse can monitor me until he returns. I’m trying to come up with solutions that work for everyone especially me but with my current OS I seem stuck and bound by procedure. Do all OS operate the same way? Is there a possibility of being knocked out immediately and bypassing most of the anxiety producing behaviors? I feel as though if I have a positive experience then my dread of future procedures will lessen or maybe go away. I was given 10 mg Valium which I took prior to the appt, it worked very well initially. I was not anxious when I arrived. The Dr was delayed by another procedure so I had a 30 or 45 minute wait. By the time I finally got in the chair the Valium seemed to have evaporated. I’d appreciate any thoughts from patients or Drs please. Right now I’m almost to the point of simply avoiding all procedures unless I’m in a lot of pain.
You can't be knocked out until the monitoring is in place.

A better premed. than Valium would probably be a good idea.

I can't comment on how long it takes for your OS to come in and do the treatment, you might ask them to make you the first patient on a session so you won't be held up by a previous case.

Have I missed anything?
Hi randy605,

it sounds like you have had several procedures under GA before and you mentioned OS, so I was wondering about the background - do you suffer from dental anxiety and only do treatment under GA or is it more that you are ok with seeing your dentist but had some surgical procedures that you felt you wouldn't be able to cope with otherwise?
I am not a dentist but I do work in healthcare and for the patient’s safety it is mandated that monitoring has to be in place prior to putting you under. Gordon has a very good point about scheduling your appointments so that you are the first one of the day which could eliminate wait time.
Must have blood pressure Before "knocking you out" Also the dentist is monitoring you and the nurse is an assistant monitor for safety but the responsibility is with the dentist.
Also, depending on where you live, some regulations do not allow the dentist to leave the room while you are under. In those cases, your dentist wants to finish all he needs to do before seeing you.

You can also ask to see if they can mute some of the monitors while you wait. Where I go, the nurse always chat with me while we wait and I find it helps.