Category Archives: Sedation Dentistry

Can You Die From Dental Sedation?

I tend to be a worrier. I’ll admit that up front. But, this time I think I really have reason. I’ve read a story online about a child that recently died during dental sedation. People tend to be more careful with children. If this child died, how can I feel safe?

Leslie M. – Oklahoma

Leslie,

As I’m sure you know as a natural worrier, there is risk in everything. However, sedation dentistry is very safe. It’s rare for a dentist to even see an issue in their entire careers, let alone anything serious.

The greatest risk comes when a patient goes under general anesthesia. Hardly any dentist even use this form of sedation. Most use something called oral conscious sedation. You’re actually awake but completely relaxed and pain-free. Though most patients sleep through the procedure, because they’re so relaxed, you’re capable of staying awake and communicating with the dentist and staff.

To put your mind at ease, you could speak to your dentist about your concerns and ask him what type of training he’s received for sedation. Ask what training he’s had if complications do arise. He should be able to answer these questions readily.

For instance, Dr. Theriot is certified with the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS). Fewer than 10% of dentists have put forth the effort to complete this level of training.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. John Theriot.

Are There Dentists for Anxious Patients?

I’m hoping to find the best dentist for anxious patients. This probably sounds silly for an adult to ask. Though I have dealt with this since childhood. I had an awful appointment and I’ve never been comfortable with the dentist since.  I just thought there might be a dentist who’d be willing to work with a jumpy grown up.

Stella B. – North Carolina

Dear Stella,

First, let me start off by telling you many adults suffer from dental anxiety, so you aren’t alone in your feelings. And, most dental anxieties stem from negative childhood experiences. So, please don’t feel like you’re being silly.

Finding the best dentist when you have anxiety is easy if you know what to look for, and yes, there are some “dental code words” that might help you find your target. You should know that dental anxiety is incredibly common and there’s nothing silly about it at all. In fact, it’s good that you recognize it because that means you can start to work to control it, too.

For starters, you’ll want to look for some specific phrases when you’re selecting offices.

Generally, when you see these types of phrases, it means the doctor understands anxiety and will work with you, rather than pressuring you to respond a certain way. You’ll find that the best dentist for you could be using any of the terms or even a mix of them.

Going forward, you may also want to consider sedation dentistry. Even if you just choose an office that specializes in it, you’ll know for sure that they understand the anxious patient. You don’t have to go for all-out sedation. However, you could also try nitrous during an appointment, just to take the edge off. It wears off quickly- as soon as it’s shut off, so you can drive home afterward and it won’t affect the rest of your day. Anyone who uses one of those terms should be a good fit for you, though. Best of luck to you.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. John Theriot.

Can Parents Be Present During Sedation?

My young son has a large cavity on his molar. Because it would be a bigger appointment to deal with it, the dentist wanted to use sedation. I agreed and scheduled the appointment. When we got there, they wouldn’t let me back with him. I refused treatment. They were annoyed and told me I wouldn’t find any office that would let me back during sedation. Is that true? If so, why?

Brenda W. – Virginia

Brenda,

I think they’re exaggerating a bit when they say there isn’t a dentist that would let you back there. Each individual office sets their own policy.

One of the reasons for not letting parents back in the operatory is to help with a child’s cooperation. In some cases, the parents can inadvertently transmit their nervousness to their child, causing them to react fearfully.

If the dentist can get them relaxed under sedation, the rest of the appointment goes smoothly, while the child relaxes in the chair.  There’s nothing to worry about.

However, it is your child. So, if you’re uncomfortable sending him back there without you, I’m certain you’ll be able to find a dentist who’ll allow you.

Don’t take too long getting this cared for. You don’t want him to end up losing the molar. You’ll want his molar to last many years.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. John Theriot.

How Gullible Are You During Dental Sedation?

There a video that made the rounds on Facebook a while back. Some brothers pranked their sister, when she finished with a dental procedure that required sedation. They convinced her there was a zombie apocalypse. At the time, I laughed (along with the rest of the country), but now that I’m facing a procedure requiring dental sedation I’m a little worried. How susceptible will I be to suggestions?

Allie R. – Santa Monica, CA

Allie,

I know the video you’re referring to. Like you, I laughed. Sedation Dentistry doesn’t make you gullible. It relaxes you. In fact, you’re so relaxed you’d be more likely to sleep through a zombie apocalypse than get ready to fight in one.

The most danger you’re in for embarrassment, is you’ll have less of a filter. You’ll be more likely to say exactly what you’re thinking.

If you’re concerned, there are some precautions you can take. First, don’t tell any friends you don’t trust about your procedure. You will have to have a friend with you throughout the day, because you’ll be woozy and not too stable on your feet. I’d be certain that was a friend you’re sure won’t use you for personal entertainment.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. John Theriot.

Why Did I Throw Up With Sedation?

I needed a lot of work done, because I’m a total coward and wouldn’t go to the dentist. I found a dentist who caters to cowards and he suggested sedation. I thought it sounded like a great way to get my work done. I know I wasn’t supposed to eat before the procedure, but the appointment wasn’t until 2 pm and I got really hungry. I only had half a sandwich in order to take the edge off the hunger, but after they gave me the sedation, I threw up right in the chair. Was it because I ate?

Sam K. – Brooklyn

Sam,

It’s likely the food. You’re very fortunate. There is a danger of aspiration when you’ve eaten. In fact, many dentists would have refused treatment if they’d known you’d eaten.

I realize that that it is difficult to go much of the day without eating. And, some people with blood sugar issues have to eat more often.  If you’re in that position, you can still have sedation. Just make sure you schedule your appointment early in the day so you don’t have to worry about getting too hungry.

Sedation is  a fantastic idea for your situation though.

People with dental anxiety suddenly don’t mind the dentist. Plus, it gives you the added benefit of being able to get more work done in one sitting. A real bonus if you need a lot of work done.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. John Theriot.

Is Dental Sedation the Same as Surgical Sedation?

I’ve got horrible dental anxiety. A friend suggested I get dental sedation. I talked to my dentist and he called it oral conscious sedation. I was really hoping to be out. I hate dental work. Is it different from surgical sedation?

Miranda L. – Iowa

Miranda,

It depends on the type of sedation dentistry you get.  Oral concious sedation, such as your dentist mentioned, will not put you out like anesthesia, but it will be pain free. Many patients fall asleep during the procedures. While you’re still conscious and can respond to your dentist, you’ll be completely relaxed.

If you want something stronger, some dentists do IV sedation. If you want that, make sure they’re DOCS certified.

Whichever procedure you decide on, you’ll never be afraid of going to the dentist again.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. John Theriot.

I wouldn’t trust this dentist.

I went in for a dental appointment because I had a toothache. I’ve never had a toothache before. When I went to the dentist he said the tooth can’t be saved. He wants to extract it, do bone grafting, and give me a dental implant. To be honest, I’m terrified of the dentist anyway and don’t want to do all this work. Plus, I’ve never lost a tooth. Is there any other option? Is it OK to get a second opinion?

Ginny W. – Connecticut

Ginny,

Well, if you have a toothache, it definitely needs to be dealt with, but I have some serious doubts about this dentist.

If this is the first time you’ve had a toothache, I find it hard to believe this tooth is too far gone to save. Did he do an x-ray? If so, there would have been a gaping hole if the tooth couldn’t be saved.

Secondly, while a dental implant is a good choice for a missing tooth, you’ve never lost a tooth. I sincerely doubt you have even a remote need for bone grafting.

Yes. Get a second opinion. Definitely.

I’d like to address your dental anxiety that was mentioned. Are you aware that dentists can do oral conscious sedation. You can be completely conscious (if you want) and feel absolutely no pain in your dental appointment.

Whenever you settle on a dentist to care for this tooth, ask him what kind of sedation he uses.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. John Theriot.

How much work can you get done with sedation?

I need a lot of dental work done. It’s my own fault. I avoid the dentist like the plague. So, knowing I don’t like the dentist, exactly how much work can get done in one appointment if I use sedation?

Bernie L. – Ohio

Bernie,

Sedation is a great solution for people in your situation. I can’t tell you exactly how much work can get done, but with the right sedation your dentist can do several hours worth. That’s a big chunk of work.

You may even find that your experience with sedation is so pleasant that you no longer avoid the dentist. You can even use it for general appointments.

Your dentist will know what procedures you need and can tell you how much can be done at once.

Just look forward to the fact that you can get it all done without any pain whatsoever.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. John Theriot.

Special Needs Children and the Dentist

I have a special needs child. He gets very aggitated in new situations. He’s just turned five and I know he needs to go to the dentist, especially since it is very hard to get him to brush his teeth. Every day is a challenge and I’m not sure how to get him through a dental appointment. Do you have any experience with this where you can advise me?

Annie H. – Bellevue, Washington

Annie,

I’m sorry for all the stress you’re feeling and I can tell you love your son very much. You’re right that he needs to see a dentist, especially if he has trouble getting through his oral hygiene routine.

One of the things I’d suggest, is to use a dentist that enjoys working with children who also practices sedation dentistry. You’ll want someone who is DOCS certified (Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation). They’ll be the most highly trained in sedation. It is a perfectly safe procedure, but it never hurts to have someone who is prepared.

This will put your son in a relaxed and sleepy state. He likely won’t even remember being at the dentist’s office.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. John Theriot.

Can I use sedation just because I want to?

I keep hearing how wonderful sedation dentistry is. I have never been completely comfortable in the dental chair. I asked my dentist if I can use it and he said it is only to be used for certain types of procedures. My friend had me under the impression that it could be used for dental fear too.

Marsha K. – Brooklyn

Marsha,

Your friend is right.  Sedation dentistry is an ideal treatment for people who have dental anxiety.  I’m not sure why your dentist is hesitant.  Maybe he doesn’t really offer the service and he’s just trying to keep you from going elsewhere.

I’d give it a try.  Call around to some other dentists and see what they offer.  I wouldn’t go with just nitrous oxide (commonly called laughing gas). It will make you loopy and relax you. But, to me it sounds like you need something just a little deeper.

I’d ask for oral conscious sedation.  All you have to do is take a pill.  But, it is so strong that you’ll need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.  You’ll be completely relaxed.  Many patients don’t even remember the appointment.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. John Theriot.