Hi Friends! Hope you are having a fantastic Tuesday
I have mentioned before that I have a fear of the dentist and needed a root canal. This has been something hanging over my head for the past few months and yesterday I finally got it done! I decided to get IV sedation for the procedure and wanted to share my experience.
Bad dental experience as a child
One time when I was about 10ish, I got a cavity filled and it did not go well. I could feel the drill in my tooth the entire time. The dentist stopped to give me numbing medication once but then when I told him again that I could still feel it, he told me that he was almost done. It hurt so bad and I just prayed for it to be over the entire time.
I have been so scared of the dentist since then. My fear is so bad that I basically stopped going to the dentist as an adult. I went for 4 years without going right after college and most recently it had been 5 years. I do take very good care of my teeth with brushing, flossing and using a fluoride rinse. But the dentist? Cant. Do. It.
Need a root canal
I was basically forced to get a check-up this fall after one of my molars was pretty much hurting 24/7. My dentist definitely thought something was up and I then went to an endodontist to get his thoughts on a root canal. He saw that my tooth was cracked and I would definitely need a root canal.
I know this sounds dramatic if you don’t understand what it’s like to have an extreme fear of something, but having to get a root canal has been the worst thing ever for me. I’ve thought about it every day. I’d sometimes cry thinking about it. I’d rather have open heart surgery or give birth with no pain meds than have this done. I know this sounds completely crazy, but that is how scared I’ve been.
Deciding on IV sedation
Because of all of this, I decided I’d probably benefit from a little bit of sedation for the procedure. I knew an oral anti-anxiety med was an option but I felt, given my extreme anxiety, that I would rather go with IV sedation instead.
I explored the options of getting it done at an endodontist who brings in an anesthesiologist vs. an endo who is certified in administering sedation, and I decided on the latter for several reasons:
1. Each endo that I spoke with said their anesthesiologists were booked 6-8 weeks out and I didn’t want to wait that long, and
2. There was a $1,600 difference between the anestheslogist vs. the IV sedation fee
Prior to Surgery
I had to have a consult prior to my appointment to make sure I was okay to receive IV sedation. The endodontist got my medical history and checked my veins. He explained that Versed would be administered to put me in a state of “conscious sedation” where I would be mostly out of it but could still respond to voices and pain.
I received instructions about what to do prior to the procedure as well:
- Stay very hydrated
- Nothing to eat/drink after midnight
- Do not wear any nail polish, jewelry or makeup
- Wear loose clothing
I am so scared of the dentist that I actually called and cancelled this appointment once back in October. But then my tooth was bothering me so much that I knew I had to go through with it.
My appointment was scheduled for Monday morning. Lily doesn’t normally sleep in the bed with me, but I let her on Sunday night… ya know, just in case it was our last night together.
My mom came and stayed with me on Sunday night so she could drive me yesterday morning (and probably make sure that I didn’t back out of it). God bless this woman… she spent all morning reassuring me that everything would be okay, it would be over soon, etc. Basically like I was a little kid, which is essentially what I was acting like
We got to the endodontist bright and early Monday morning. I knew they would take me back right away, so I said I needed to use the restroom first. I didn’t actually have to go to the restroom, though, and there was no escape route in there. So that was kind of pointless.
Then they took me back to the procedure room. The techs hooked me up to a heart rate monitor and then the endo got me all hooked up to my IV. I articulated my fears that I would be able to feel him drilling my tooth and he reassured me that he was an expert at numbing patients and that he would make sure I was good and numb while he was working on me.
Getting the Versed was not exactly what I had expected. I thought I would be asleep for the entire thing. I actually didn’t go to sleep at all. I did feel very, very relaxed and did not feel any anxiety about anything. It seemed like I was aware of everything because I could feel the vibrations of the drill and I remember the endodontist talking to me. But I know that I was actually out of it because it seemed like it took 5 minutes but really it took an hour.
After the procedure was over, I get up pretty easily and felt mostly normal. Just super tired.
As for the pain and my anxiety, I did not feel a single thing other than getting numbed. I didn’t notice that my mouth was propped open for an hour. I felt super relaxed and chill.
Overall thoughts: I would 100% get the IV sedation again if I ever needed another root canal. I had a really good experience and I’m glad I can put this behind me now.
Do you have any phobias?