I went to see my doctor because of some jaw pain. When he did an examination he said I had an abscessed tooth. He asked when was the last time I’d seen a dentist. I was so embarrassed to tell him it had been years. I explained that I have pretty severe anxiety about seeing dentists. He offered to prescribe Xanax for me because he said it’s imperative I get seen. He also gave me a prescription antibiotic, but warned me a dentist would have to physically get in there and remove infection the antibiotic cannot reach. I’ve filled both prescriptions but I’m worried taking Xanax may not be okay if he gives me that gas thing, which by the way, never helps anyway. What do I do?
First, I want to give my compliments to your doctor. Not all doctors take the time to understand how dental issues affect the general health of their patients. I wish they would because people are still dying from tooth infections even in this modern era, even though it’s completely preventable. He’s also right that you need more than an antibiotic to take care of a tooth infection.
While taking Xanax could be useful to you, it’s absolutely imperative you tell your dentist you’ve taken it. It can interfere with some medications he could need to use. You don’t want to risk any serious interactions.
I do want you to know that you have another option, which won’t interfere with anything the dentist may need to do. Talk to your dentist ahead of time about your anxiety. See if he happens to also be a sedation dentist. If he’s not, someone with your level of dental anxiety will need a different dentist—one who’s familiar with working with fearful patients and has the personality and tools to help them.
I’m not surprised that the nitrous oxide hasn’t worked for you in the past. It’s only useful for patients with very mild dental anxiety. You have a more severe reaction, which will raise your metabolism and burn off both the gas and any numbing agent your dentist gives you. No wonder your appointments frighten you!
Instead, what you need is oral conscious sedation. This is significantly stronger and shows great effectiveness in helping patients with a high level of anxiety. It will give you an appointment that is both stress-free and pain-free. The only downside is also its effectiveness. You’ll be way too relaxed to be on your own. You’ll be a bit unsteady on your feet so will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as stay with you until the medication wears off.
I’m certain you’re going to find this completely changes your view of dental care. And, I predict you will no longer wait until you have a dental emergency to see a dentist.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Ashley Price.