There are many people who are so scared of the dentist in San Mateo that wait until they are in extreme pain before making an appointment. Kelly is one of those unfortunate people who reluctantly came to see me recently. She was in bad shape. Kelly did not smile, and covered her mouth when she spoke, out of embarrassment. She was in severe pain from many large cavities, some of which left the teeth as hollow shells with brownish black centers. These broken down teeth, were only remnants of what they once were. Beautiful round and smooth teeth are now sharp spikes with jagged edges. When Kelly did manage to show her teeth, everyone she encountered reacted with the same disgusted look that she feared.
When we asked her how we could help, her answer was to simply get her out of pain and give her a smile again. But she also wanted to know how we could do this with her extreme fear of dental treatment. Through the discussion, it was apparent that the whole experience of being in the office was almost overwhelming to her. She would occasionally cry and struggle to control her emotions.
Sedation dentistry was our answer to her questions of how. We would use a combination of sedative pills to relax her enough to enable us to help her through a visit. The medications would also give her sense of amnesia…she would not remember much of the visit while sedated. We would still be able to talk to her during the visit, but she would not remember the majority of the conversations. This was how we would proceed.
After consulting with her MD, we proceeded with our sedation dentistry treatment. Food and liquids were discontinued the night before at 9pm and a sleeping aid was taken before bedtime. The next morning, Kelly took two sedative pills an hour before her scheduled appointment. At this appointment, we were to perform a complete exam (we could not do this while she was awake due to fear), extract a tooth and complete 5 composite resin fillings. When we started, Kelly was quietly dozing…this was after evaluating her sedation level and adding sedatives as necessary. Since Kelly was a smoker, we needed to use about 30% more medication to reach the appropriate level of sedation. Once to that level, we proceeded with all of the dental work planned for that day. That first visit lasted about 4 hours (luckily it seems like only an instant to her) and we completed our plan.
When asked about her treatment, she said that she only remembered walking to the office and then a little about walking to her car. After sedation, it is required that someone stay with her for the next 3-4 hours. She was very happy that we were able to get a lot done, we took care of the bigger cavities which were causing pain. Kelly said that she would definitely have the rest of the work done at an upcoming visit since this one went so well. At her next appointment, we would extract 4 more teeth and complete a gum treatment. Stay tuned to learn more about Kelly’s progress and how sedation dentistry may be right for you.
For more information about Kelly’s story and others that suffer from dental anxiety, contact Dr. Michael Wong, your San Mateo Dentist. Or visit our Google+ page to see what others have to say about their experience.
Dr. Michael Wong
San Mateo Center of Cosmetic Dentistry
256 N San Mateo Dr #8
San Mateo, CA 94401