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Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods



Junior member
Jan 18, 2011
Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

So, like about half the people here I am booked to get my wisdom teeth out in 9 days (it feels like an eternity... If I could get them done tomorrow I probably would).

Basically, this is something I have been putting off for 7 years, I am so terrified to get them done (I'm only 23, so while I know that it would have been easier to have them done at 16, I hope that I am still young enough not to have too many complications). I'm not remotely worried about the pain afterward nor any post-op complications. I have had major knee reconstructive surgery so I know that with the help of pain killers I can manage the pain. I also have 3 partially erupted, straighter than my regular teeth wisdom teeth, and one that is growing in that's bugging me a bit (mostly just my ears, a sharp but brief pain every once in a while in my other wisdom teeth), but I have seen the xray and it looks fine, its a upper anyways.

My extreme anxiety (ie- trouble eating, sleeping, functioning in my day-to-day life) comes from the procedure itself, and the whole process before hand (trying to get to the office the day of etc...). I am concerned because my dentist won't put me in contact with specialist (not even a full name or phone number) to let him know how nervous I am or to discuss other options. I have been told that this violates the informed consent concept.... I'm frustrated because up until this point I have been quite happy with my dentist.

They said I would be just fine with the LA, or 1mg of ativan at the most. I talked them into two when I told them how I tried to pull the epidural needle out of my spine when I had my knee done. However, 7 years of pent up anxiety makes me worry that even the 2mg of ativan won't be enough.

I'm trying to find a dentist who can administer the IV sedation. After the spinal freezing that's what I had when my knee was done and it was about as amazing as possible in those circumstances (esp. the extra pain killers that time:p) I love that the risk and recovery is way shorter than the GA, and that I have absolutely no recollection of the procedure itself.

However, I can't seem to get in any quicker (in fact it might be an extra month or more) to see one of these specialists, and the waiting is most likely going to be the worst part of the procedure for me.

Anyone had any experiences with extreme anxiety and ativan? Did it actually work? Do you think that there is any chance I will be allowed to take 1mg just to get there, and then another 1mg before the procedure? They somehow expect me to sit through a 20 minute consultation with the specialist the day of the procedure. As I will need some sort of tranq. just to get through this, it does not seem to be in line with informed consent....

Thoughts? Reassuring words?
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Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

Ativan works well for anxiety... but it can put you to sleep too (it does me)... depending on how sensitive your system is, I guess.

Can you ask the dentist, or your doctor?
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

They say that it 'might' put me to sleep, which would be awesome. I kind of want to make sure that the surgeon isn't planning on doing anything until I am loopy enough to have know idea what's going on, but I am not even allowed his phone number to talk to him on the phone.

I should probably just find another specialist who can do a better job alleviating my fears.
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

Agreed - I find it odd in the extreme that you're not "allowed" (???) to know who your specialist is. WTF is this - "dental mystery shopper" in reverse?

You're right to question this and of course you are entitled to know and see if they are right for you :thumbsup:!!
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

Hmmm - the ativan would take the edge off, but if you are extremely nervous I'd say look into IV sedation. I took ativan for a procedure, and it didn't do much, BUT I was already used to ativan, as I'd been taking it for panic attacks for years.

In terms of your age, don't worry - I was 34 when I had mine out, and had zero complications. I was scared out of my mind, so they put me out with general anaesthetic. I don't freeze with novocain on lower teeth, which is probably why they went with the general.

Anyways, why don't you at least shop around and find a surgeon who does IV sedation. You might be totally fine with the ativan, but getting some more facts would mean that you make an informed decision.

Odd that your dentist won't put you in touch with the specialist.
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

One comment....

I had one wisdom tooth taken out at your age, and three (not impacted) taken out at 45.

No problems with any.

The thing is....the stories you hear about wisdom teeth and "horror" are the ones that are not the norm.

But doing it now is certainly better than waiting.
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

I know how you feel, I have one wisdom tooth left and my dentist have just referred me to an Oral Surgeon to remove it. I’m soon 22 so I don’t think you need to worry about your age. My dentist (age around 40) had one of his wisdom teeth removed a year ago by the same Oral Surgeon and it went fine.

Do understand why not knowing who the Oral Surgeon is must be scary. I did not ask my dentist today who my Oral Surgeon was because our city is so small and he mentioned where he worked, so just a quick search online and I found him. Not that I’m going to contact him, but I like to know who he is. However, if I had asked who the specialist was I’m sure he would have told me, but then again I live in another country than you and might have different rules about such (?).
But it seem strange that you dentist won’t tell who it is, I don’t think others on this forum have had the same problem before. You have the right to decide who are going to work in your mouth and how.
Good luck!
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

I've only used ativan three times before- 1mg each the night before and the morning of my knee surgery and 0.5mg mixed with benadryl after going to the hospital with a really weird rash (turns out it was most likely niacin).... So I'm not entirely sure how I will react. It would be awesome if it was enough to make me sleep. I'm sure once I get there and in the chair that it is nothing I can't handle. I've gotten a lot better with fillings etc... over the past few years and don't need anything for them.

Do you think there is any way that they would let me have 1 of the 2mg before I even have to leave the house?

My dentist was supposed to call the specialist today and see if he would be willing to call me? This guy sounds like a bit of a jerk, who is quite full of himself, if you ask me.....
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

Is there any reason why you have to go to this particular specialist? (you may well have, e.g. because you're in an isolated area and don't really have a choice). If not, why pay a jerk? (that's assuming he's a jerk - I suppose you'll know more once you've talked to him on the phone - he might be really wonderful for all we know :))
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

No except he is the specialist my dentist uses. I'm booked in for the 27th, and I don't really want to have to wait/ go through all this stress again if I rebook. Plus I have already re arranged my schedule, and have been working my butt off to get a head with school. (yes, I know these aren't good reasons to go ahead with it if I'm not comfortable...)

I wonder if its just the waiting that's getting to me and that once I am there I will be fine. I am looking for other specialists, but they either don't return my messages or I will have to wait a month. And I have barely been able to handle the last week let alone another month.
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

Although I myself have never taken Avitan nor have given it to my patients, I know it is the drug of choice by many doctors.
However, I would like to point out that these kind of drugs do not help with the fear itself. In fact, it helps to increase this fear. But that's a subject for another thread...:rolleyes:
I am not an oral surgeon (just a simple dentist), but I think there is a tendency to extract all four wisdom teeth in one appointment, and it is not always better for the patient:censored:
Maybe a possible strategy for you is not to extract so many teeth at once, just to begin with an easier one?! :confused:
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

So my dentist had told me she would get the surgeon to call me today, and its now 5 and he hasn't so I assume its not going to happen. They were poised to make nearly 1000 dollars off of me, talk about bad customer service.

I have booked in with another dental clinic for an appt tomorrow, CONSULTATION with the surgeon Friday, and hopefully an extraction on the Friday after that. With IV sedation (which unlike many people on these forums doesn't scare me a bit-- doesn't even feel like sleeping as I remember it, you wake up and wonder why they haven't started yet).

I obviously am still nervous (this is my biggest phobia I swear!) But I feel like I know what to expect more with the IV sedation (I know how out of it I am going to be as opposed to with the ativan). I'll probably still need some anti anxiety medicine to get me to the clinic and in the chair, but I feel like my fear is much more manageable now, if much more expensive :(.

Let's just hope I can find someone to come with me this time. A morning (ish) appt would be ideal, but is probably unlikely.

Thanks for all of your help!! I
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

PS- Dr. Daniel, I totally agree with you on both counts. Making phone calls today, 2 receptionists told me that if I was apprehensive about the ativan being enough odds were that it wouldn't be enough (a psychological thing I believe) and I agree with them.

On many levels I think that I would be best if they were to remove just one of my teeth, the one that has always 'bugged' me the most-- never hurt, just gave me anxiety knowing it was there, the first one to erupt. But never once has anyone given me the option. Plus I am poor graduate student so if I am going to pay a lot of extra money for the IV sedation I better just get all four out at once, as scary as it is. If I do the IV sedation, I might just pretend that they are only doing the one anyways. It doesn't really matter because it is like the quickest process ever!
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

My dentist recommended an oral surgeon, too, who I felt was a jerk. He pulled one tooth and I never went back to him. I complained to my dentist and she actually pulled the other two herself.

I think she did a better job than the oral surgeon.

My question has always been....why didn't she do them herself right away? She charged $100 a tooth. He charged $250 a tooth. Go figure.

I know of a dentist who recommends an oral surgeon and it is his...brother.

Too often we think as patients that we have little choice when in reality, we have all of the choices.
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

36 hours to go, + (hopefully) 48-72 hours until I start feeling better. I am armed with 3 ativan (1 for tonight, 1 for tomorrow night, and one to take at the specialist's office 1 hour before hand), caffeine free T3s, anti-inflammatory steroids, ample soft food, and likely more fun books and movies than I will have time to consume-- although I am planning on taking Monday and Tuesday off as a treat to me, not only for getting my wisdom teeth out, but for working all through Christmas as well.

I finally got to meet the specialist today, and while he scared me more about the post-op part of this whole ordeal, I am feeling a bit better about the whole procedure itself. I don't know if IV sedation is different in Canada but I have been assured that I will be asleep through the whole thing, and its not just that they give you an amnesiac after to make you forget (I don't think that I would be very cooperative if at all awake).

Plus I like this guy- no antibiotics unless you need them (he gave his number is case of an emergency), and he too is of the mind that something in your body constantly irritating the gums, and slowly decaying can not possibly be good in a positive energy sense.

I'm still nervous/ anxious, but I am beginning to feel that this is what "normal" people feel before a procedure, a little bit shaky, a little bit nervous, a little bit of a feeling that this is unreal, that after so many days imagining (and nights dreaming) about this damn procedure, that its actually happening on Friday. I have a funny feeling that I will be the happiest person in the world Friday at noon (before the sedatives/ anesthetic wears off). But I think I can do this! (I am sure I will feel differently walking into the specialist's office Friday morning, but I am going to.

Ultimately, as nervous as I am the timing of everything seems to be ok. I was mad my consultation got left off until today (canceled from last Friday), but I do not think that he would have been able to prescribe as many ativan as he did had I had the consult earlier. Plus I have a relatively light week at school (especially if I play hooky Monday and Tuesday regardless of how I feel). Its early enough that I will still have time to catch up with papers, exams etc.... but not so early that I will be clueless as to what is going on in my classes. My grad supervisor seems fine with me taking some time off. Plus, I just went off the pill about 3 months ago, so my estrogen levels are likely quite low and its apparently the right time of month to decrease the chance of dry sockets.... Can you tell, I am one of those "meant to be" people? Hopefully this means that things will go relatively well.

Thanks to everyone for your support, I have at times helpful lurking here over the past few weeks (although admittedly at times it has made my anxiety worse). Hopefully everything goes well, and as my fear of dentists largely pertains to my fear of them making me get my wisdom teeth removed, that I should slowly get more comfortable with going.

Thanks! (sorry for my rambling)
Re: Yet another person with wisdom teeth fears- especially with sedation methods

And now that it is over....how do you feel?