I’m Afraid I’ll Need Dentures

I have a hard time going to the dentist. I’ve pretty much been going only when I have to. The last two times, things were so bad I lost teeth. If I keep going this way, I’ll need dentures before I’m 40. What do you recommend?


Dear Lisa,

woman asleep in the dental chair

You are not alone in your fear of the dentist. Many patients struggle with dental anxiety in some form. The good news is, there is a solution. What you need is a way to feel relaxed at the dentist. In your place, I’d look for a dentist who offers dental sedation options.

Most sedation dentists offer two levels of dental sedation. The first is nitrous oxide. It’s a gas you breathe in before your procedure. It gives you a floaty, relaxed feeling which allows the numbing medication to work better. The second level is for patients with a much greater anxiety level.

Oral conscious sedation (OCS) is administered by a pill. Most patients sleep through their appointments when taking this type of sedation. It is much stronger than nitrous. In fact, it is so strong you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. Someone will also need to stay with you until you are lucid again.

What you’ll find is not only will you have pain-free/stress-free appointments which allow you to go to the dentist without the anxiety you’ve had in the past, but you will also be able to catch up on dental work much more quickly. OCS allows a dentist to get more work done in each sitting.

Catching up on your dental work will mean no more waiting until you have a dental emergency. It will be much smoother sailing than you’ve experienced.

You said the last two appointments resulted in you having teeth extracted. I want to make sure your dentist is replacing those missing teeth. The last thing you need is for your teeth to shift into empty spots. That can throw off your whole bite and lead to serious problems.

There are several different types of tooth replacement options these days. I’ll list some here, but you can talk to your dentist about which will be the best for you.

This blog is brought to you by Baton Rouge Dentist Dr. Steven Collins.