Because of my fear of the dentist, I’ve neglected my teeth over the years and now I need to have all my teeth removed and have dentures put in. My dental anxiety hasn’t gone away. Can I have my teeth extracted in the hospital under general anesthesia so I don’t have to feel a thing?
Lydia E., Chicago, IL
Dental anxiety is a real issue that millions of Americans deal with so please don’t feel alone.
Before I answer your question, Lydia, I’d first like to know: how do you know you need to have dentures or all of your teeth removed? Have you seen an actual dentist yet? I don’t know how old you are or your situation, but it seems there are a few options you may be able to explore before having any procedure done.
For example, maybe dental implants are an option. An actual titanium root form is implanted into your jawbone and a crown is placed over it. Dental implants essentially mimic your natural teeth, meaning you can chew and talk normally without fear of them slipping out. And because they are permanent they also help prevent bone loss that happens when teeth are removed.
But as to your question: Yes, you can have it done. However, it’s a very expensive option. Instead, you can have your procedure done just as safely and for a lot less money right in the dentist’s office. A sedation dentist is certified and trained to administer oral sedation. With oral sedation, you are conscious but are essentially in a deep sleep and completely unaware of your surroundings during your extraction procedure. This method is safer than anesthesia. Also, you will not experience any pain. Most of all, you will not remember the procedure at all.
You also have the choice of IV sedation. This method of sedation is less expensive than general anesthesia although more expensive than oral sedation. With this option, you will still feel relaxed and calm, be conscious but in a sleepy state, and a huge bonus is that the recovery time is quicker than either oral sedation or general anesthesia. It also suppresses a strong gag reflex, if you have one.
Remember, you are not alone in your dental anxiety. And finding the right dentist, one who “caters to cowards” can help you overcome it. Sedation dentistry does wonders for people with fear of the dentist. So before you make a decision, please find a good sedation dentist to help you decide on the best course of action to take with your dental health.
This blog is sponsored by Buffalo dentist Warren M. Krutchick, DDS.