Can sedation dentistry be fatal?

All 4 of my wisdom teeth are impacted. I am having them pulled under sedation dentistry in January. I am managing the pain for the most part, but my schedule is too hectic to get the surgery done before next year. There is no way I can get the teeth pulled without being sedated, but the thought of it is making me nervous. Maybe I shouldn’t have done so much research on it, but I found some accounts of people who actually died from sedation at the dentist. Are there some hidden dangers that my dentist isn’t telling me about? If so maybe I will just take something that normally makes me sleepy so I can get through this. Thanks. Leticia


When you take any type of sedative—whether it’s from a doctor, dentist, or an anesthesiologist, there are always risks. There are also risks and side effects of any type of medication. But the risks are usually minor, and the odds of having a serious reaction with sedation dentistry are very small. The majority of dentists who use sedation don’t have any issues during their entire time of practicing dentistry.

Sedation dentistry is primarily administered through anti-anxiety medication. It will make you drowsy and relaxed, but not unconscious as with general anesthesia. General anesthesia has greater risks, but it is administered by a highly trained anesthesiologist—not by a dentist.

Before you receive any anti-anxiety medication, your sedation dentist will review your medical history and current medication. Your medication will be carefully checked against the anti-anxiety medication to ensure there are no conflicts. If you have an extensive medical history of complications, a conscientious sedation dentist will work with your primary care doctor to ensure you get the correct medication and dosage.

Dentists who administer sedation are required to receive extensive training, and have the legally regulated drugs and equipment for proper treatment. They are also trained on monitoring your vital signs to ensure your safety. The dentist is also trained to handle emergencies and to get appropriate medical help without trying to resolve the issue on his or her own in the dental office. Again, emergencies are rare.

Many patients benefit by speaking with a sedation dentist in advance. It’s an opportunity to discuss your concerns, ask questions, and ensure you understand what to expect before, during, and after your appointment. Ask about the dentist’s emergency protocol in the rare event of an emergency. The details you receive can help increase your comfort about your procedure. If you are dissatisfied with the consultation, find another dentist who can thoroughly address your concerns.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

How do I find an affordable dentist for a horrible toothache?

I am in serious need of an affordable dentist. My husband’s job was reduced to part time work. We kept dental insurance him only because it was too expensive to add dependents. I have a toothache that is getting worse. This happened to me in the past when I did have dental insurance and I ended up needing a root canal. There is no way we can afford to pay for a root canal out of pocket. I know I need to get help right away but I am not sure how to find an affordable dentist to help. What should I do? Thanks. Darla



You do need to find an affordable dentist right away. When a toothache gets progressively worse, it’s a dental emergency that needs to be addressed. Your past experience shows that you understand the importance of taking care of your toothache quickly.

You can start by doing an Internet search for four to five emergency dentists in your area. Call the offices to find out if payment plans are offered. Some offices provide financing with no interest for qualified applicants. If you call an office that doesn’t offer either, move on to the next one on your list. You will be able to find a dentist that will work with your budget.

Some patients find success in getting an affordable dental insurance plan that doesn’t have limitations for pre-existing conditions. That’s an option only if you can afford to pay for an insurance plan and get approved for it quickly. A low-premium insurance plan can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Most likely, you can find an affordable dentist, but if for some reason you can’t, visit your medical doctor. He or she will be able to determine if your tooth is infected and if antibiotics are needed. It will at least address the infection. Your medical doctor might be able to influence a dentist to see you right away.

Be assured that you will be able to get the treatment you need from a dentist who will make it affordable for you.

This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.


Can I give my free teeth whitening to my husband?

My new dentist gives patients free teeth whitening after their second dental cleaning appointment. I don’t want to bleach my teeth because I have crowns on 2 teeth and I don’t want my own teeth to be whiter than the crowns. I can’t use the whitening and the office doesn’t do substitutions for other services. My husband is interested in whitening his teeth and he doesn’t have any crowns or anything to worry about. The lady at the front desk at the dentist’s office was hesitant when I mentioned that I would just give the kit to my husband, and then she told me that the kits are only for active patients of my dentist. Is there any reason why he shouldn’t use it or were they just trying to keep the kit and save money because I can’t use it? Thanks Gemma


Even if the teeth whitening kit is free, a professional kit from a dentist is customized for each patient. Bleaching trays are made based on impressions of your teeth to ensure they fit well and provide the best results. It sounds like your husband isn’t a patient at your dentist’s office. Otherwise, he would eventually receive a free whitening kit of his own.

The kit would be incomplete without customized trays for your husband. This puts him at risk for getting not enough—or too much—bleaching gel on his teeth and gums. Store-bought bleaching trays are not a reliable and effective way to put the bleaching gel in contact with his teeth.

Before teeth whitening is completed, an examination is needed to determine if bleaching will help or harm your husband’s teeth. In some cases, the gel will make stains on teeth more noticeable. If your husband is a candidate for whitening, he should have a professional dental cleaning first. This will make the whitening treatments more effective. Still, he needs professional whitening trays.

As a suggestion, your husband can ask his dentist about whether or not free teeth whitening is available, or how it can be made affordable for him. Many dentists are willing to work with patients to make a bright smile affordable.

This post is sponsored by Plano female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.