Do I need an oral surgeon to do an extraction?

I’ve got an ongoing dental situation that is coming to a head. A few years ago I lost the filling out of one of my molars. It broke into pieces shortly after that, and I developed an infection. I went in and got a root canal done, but I don’t think it was completely successful. The dentist who did the root canal never called to schedule the placement of the dental crown, and I am kind of embarrassed to admit that I did not pursue it. I really, really hate going to the dentist, so I was not in any hurry to go in again. Everything seemed OK until a few weeks ago when the infection came back with a vengeance. The swelling is ridiculous, and the pain is intense.

I have to get this treated, but I am embarrassed that I let it get this bad, and freaked out at how much it is going to hurt to get this done. Every time I go to call I get so scared that I just hang up.

Here is what I am wondering – if I go to an oral surgeon, will they knock me out to get this treatment done? I know dentists use laughing gas, but I think I need something a lot stronger than that. The only dental experience I don’t have negative memories about is getting my wisdom teeth out, and that is because I don’t remember a thing! They knocked me out cold, and that is the only way I think I can handle this treatment.

Theresa in Dublin, Wisconsin

Dear Theresa,

It is always so hard to read about people like you who have suffered needlessly because of dental fear! Many, many people share your fear, and it is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Some dentists, called sedation dentists, are specially trained to help patients like you get the treatment they need without the stress and anxiety. Sedation dentistry involves a range of different techniques, one of which is the conscious sedation you refer to when recounting the story of your wisdom teeth removal. Contrary to what most people think, people are typically not “out cold” during wisdom teeth removal, though virtually no one remembers anything at all about their treatment. This kind of medication, administered orally, allows fearful dental patients to get treatment without the stress and anxiety. It can also allow people who need extensive dental work done to get more done in one sitting.

We strongly recommend that you seek the services of a sedation dentist (also called a “sleep dentist” by lay people).

This blog provided by the office of Seattle cosmetic dentist Dr. Brian McKay.

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