The following story is not based on a real person.
Tommy Timson is afraid of the dentist. He has not been to the dentist’s office in at least 10 years because of his anxiety. He couldn’t tell you how long it’s been, but he does know it’s been more than a decade.
Lately, he has started to notice some problems with this mouth. One tooth in the back of his mouth looks like it has a black hole growing on it. He also has noticed that the same tooth seems to hurt when he drinks his morning coffee.
One of his co-workers told Tommy about the sedation options at Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta, GA. So, he decided to give them a call for the sake of his teeth.
Sharing His Concerns
When Tommy called to make his appointment, he explained his situation.
His tooth is discolored and sometimes bothers him. He knows it’s not something he can fix on his own.
And he has dental anxiety.
The woman who answered the phone was very nice, and she explained that they offer a number of what she called “comfort options” to help patients just like Tommy.
One way they try to help people with dental anxiety is with longer appointments. She said sometimes patients with dental anxiety need a break during their treatments. By making a longer appointment, they know they can take the time to collect themselves and still finish their treatment in one visit.
In the private operatories, they have more ways to help patients feel relaxed. She said Tommy could ask for a pillow or blanket if that will help him feel more comfortable.
And each room has a television so he can watch something to take his mind off the treatment.
She also encouraged him to set up a consultation with Dr. Watson before making his appointment. Tommy decided to do that the next day.
At His Consultation
Tommy was expecting the dentist to ask a lot of questions about his tooth, and he did.
But Dr. Watson did more than that. He asked Tommy about his dental anxiety.
Tommy was able to explain how he had a bad experience with his previous dentist. That dentist was very judgmental toward Tommy, and that made him not want to go back again.
But he did when he thought that he might have gum disease. That dentist didn’t care when Tommy mentioned his fear of needles, so when Tommy found out about the local anesthetic, he started to shake a little bit.
Even though he didn’t feel much during the treatment, the image of the needle stuck in his mind.
Dr. Watson explained that they offered sedation dentistry at their office to help patients like Tommy.
For many patients, nitrous oxide sedation is a simple solution. Taking nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is as easy as breathing. Dr. Watson said they would place a mask over Tommy’s nose, and he would inhale the gas.
The gas will help him feel calm and stay relaxed throughout his treatment. When it is finished, Dr. Watson said they just turn off the gas and take off the mask. By continuing to breathe, Tommy would exhale the remaining nitrous oxide and return to feeling like he normally does.
Tommy remembered his co-worker mentioned oral conscious sedation, and Dr. Watson said they offer that, too.
During oral conscious sedation, Tommy would take a pill before coming in for his appointment. A friend or family member would need to drive him to the office.
By the time his treatment started, Tommy would probably feel drowsy and may not be aware of anything that is happening, according to Dr. Watson.
When the treatment is over, Tommy’s friend or family member would take him home so he could rest. Dr. Watson said the effects of oral conscious sedation can last for a while after the treatment is completed.
Tommy made an appointment for the following week, and he said he would like to try oral conscious sedation.
Tommy took his pill about an hour before his appointment. His brother drove him to the office.
During his treatment (which Tommy doesn’t remember), the dentist found a cavity. He removed the tooth decay and gave Tommy a filling. Then Tommy’s brother took him home.
Tommy woke up from his nap a few hours later. When he looked in the mirror, his tooth looked normal again, and he felt better.
He decided then that he would be going back to Atlanta West Dentistry.
Do You Know Someone Like Tommy?
If you or someone you know has dental anxiety, make plans to come to our office for a consultation. We would be glad to talk to you about your fears and about how we can help while you are in our dentist office, located in Marietta, GA.