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If you're here, you're either thinking of having some type of dental work or oral surgery done, or are looking for after-care advice. First, let me make this perfectly clear:

I am NOT a dentist or oral surgeon.
I am merely a person who's had lots of dental work done, and hopefully can offer some assistance, advice or ideas to you.

One thing I've learned over time: many people are afraid of the dentist or oral surgeon.

On my first trip to the dentist when I was 7 years old, I learned I had 13 cavities (I've always had bad teeth) and the dentist proceeded to start work on my mouth. He gave me a shot of Novacaine, but it didn't completely numb the area. Needless to say, when he drilled into the tooth I screamed. A lovely, loud, high-pitched 7 year old girl scream. The dentist yelled at me, then he slapped me. Now, needless to say, that wouldn't happen these days, but this was back in 1959. That one single experience set me up for many years of not trusting dentists, and I avoided going in whenever I could.

I have since learned that I'm one of those people whose mouth and/or system doesn't respond to just one shot of Novacaine: I needed a double dose. Many times since my childhood I've gone to the dentist and told them of that first experience, and they've all shook their heads in disbelief. Those dentists all numbed the gum line first with a swab, then gave me one shot. They came back, tested the area, then gave me a second shot. Relief! And no pain during any dental work! It was all solved by communication and honesty.

Communication and honesty is the key is overcoming the "Fear Factor"!! Do NOT be afraid of letting your dental professional know how you feel. Don't be afraid of being called "childish", or that you're "being a baby" . . . you're not. Many, many people are afraid of the dentist, believe me. That real tough guy in the next cubicle might be one of them.

These days we are now blessed with sedation dentistry and other various methods to relax you. One of my dentists, who knew me quite well, would always have me pick up a small prescription of 5 mg. Valium before my appointment. I would take one the night before to ensure that I slept well, and then another dose 30 minutes before my appointment. It did the trick: I was relaxed and not afraid. My endodontist did the same thing, but would also add Nitrous Gas to the equation. I actually slept through a number of root canals!

Some people aren't comfortable using these types of drugs, and that's fine. Find something that works for you. Whether it be meditation, going to the "happy place" in your mind, or using a prescription medication dispensed by your dental professional, it can work. But the first step is to admit that you're afraid to yourself, then to your dentist or oral surgeon. Really. It's not that hard to do, and you'll feel much better about the entire experience.

Good luck to you, whatever method you choose!


This information and advice published or made available through
is not intended to replace the services of a dentist or oral surgeon,
nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship.
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only
and is not a substitute for professional dental or medical advice.
2008 Dental Care & Oral Surgery