How do I handle dental fear if I’ve got a tooth infection?

I have a tooth infection that I really need to deal with, but I have an unusually high amount of dental fear. The last time I tried to go I didn’t even make it from the reception area to the dental chair. Is there anything that can help?  I am in a lot of pain.

Belinda- Oregon


Your fear is not uncommon.  Many patients have some level of dental fear.  Your’s sounds pretty traumatic for you because you cannot get into the dental treatment area.

The first thing you need to do is look for a sedation dentist. There are different levels of sedation dentistry, so you’ll want to make sure the dentist does the treatment level you need.  Here are some of the levels you can expect:

  • Nitrous Oxide:  The mildest level is nitrous oxide. In this case, you would breathe in a mild relaxant. This is sometimes called laughing gas.
  • Oral Conscious Sedation:  The next level is oral conscious sedation. With this you take a pill a short time before your appointment. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from an appointment because you will still be a little disoriented.
  • IV Sedation:  The highest level of sedation is IV sedation. You will be completely relaxed. Though you will  be unconcerned about your appointment, you will still be conscious and can respond to verbal cues.
It would be good for you to to consult with a sedation dentist.  You don’t want to let this infection get too far along, because it can be dangerous for your health. Plus, the longer this goes, the more challenging the treatment will be.
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