Can I use wine for sedation before my dentist’s appointment?

I don’t like artificial things in my body so sedation dentistry isn’t my first choice to help me relax. I don’t drink alcoholic beverages often so when I do they relax me and I usually sleep until the next morning, but I’m not drunk. I am wondering if wine is a good option to help me relax at the dentist. I would drink it maybe 15 minutes before I leave for my appointment. I would have my sister or a friend drive me to the dental appointment. I can arrive very relaxed and sleepy and get through the dental appointment without something artificial being used unnecessarily. Is this something a dentist would agree to? Thanks Leigh

Leigh – Although you want to relax during your dental appointment, you also should be able to respond to the dentist’s instructions and questions during that time. It sounds like alcohol would make you sleep through the entire procedure.

Sedation dentistry helps you relax. If your dentist has an important question for you, you would be able to respond. The medication you would receive is commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medication. It won’t knock you out cold. Only a small amount of the medication is given, so your system won’t be overloaded with an artificial substance. During the procedure, your vital signs are monitored and safety precautions are taken.

Speak with a sedation dentist about your concerns. You might be able to take something natural to help you relax before your appointment, but wine or other alcoholic beverages won’t be the preferred method.

If your current dentist offers sedation, ask what he or she uses to help people relax. Sometimes nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is all that’s needed. If you need a higher level of sedation, you and your dentist can discuss an agreeable method.

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

Does free teeth whitening last as the whitening you have to pay for?

Does free teeth whitening last as long as other kinds of teeth whitening? I got a pack of free teeth whitening that looks like it might be a year’s supply. Will it last long enough for me to use it every week for a year or will it go bad and damage my teeth or do nothing at all. Do I need to use more of it than the usual whitening that you might get from a dentist? Thanks. Dolly

Dolly – You didn’t mention the source of your whitening gel. Depending on its origin, it might not work at all, or it might damage your teeth.

Carbamide peroxide is the whitening ingredient in bleaching gel that dentists use. Does the free teeth-whitening gel you received contain carbamide peroxide? Other whitening agents might not work as well. Carefully, examine the contents listed on the package before you use the gel. Also, examine the packing for an expiration date. That will help you determine how long the gel is expected to last.

Before you use any type of whitening gel, be sure that your teeth are clean and free of cavities and your gums are free of disease. Otherwise the teeth whitening process can be a big irritant.

Also, teeth whitening gel should be used as directed. Only keep the gel in contact with your teeth for the time directed on the packaging. Be certain to use custom bleaching trays. They will keep the gel sealed against your teeth and away from your gums. Don’t overdo it. You should not whiten your teeth every week for a year. If it’s overused, the bleaching gel can weaken your teeth and make them brittle. Some people who whiten their teeth too much find that their teeth are becoming darker—not water.

We suggest that you use caution and ask your dentist to examine your teeth and determine if any type of teeth whitening is safe for you to use. You might even ask your dentist to look at the free teeth-whitening gel before you use it—just to be sure that the ingredients are safe. If not, your dentist can provide you with a safe means of brightening your smile.

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

If I get an affordable dentist does that mean the service will be substandard?

Can you give me some advice on an affordable dentist? We have a family of 6 and no dental insurance. My husband’s job provides medical insurance only and our 22 year old daughter has had a toothache for about 2 months now. We know she needs a root canal but we want it done right. And we don’t want a dentist who is just going to insist on pulling the tooth because we don’t have insurance. I have already been to an affordable dentist who I thought was disrespectful when I needed 2 dental fillings. They didn’t overcharge me. I just don’t like the way I was treated and now one of the fillings is getting loose. Now I’m wondering if some steps were left out and I got a substandard filling. I’m really concerned about my daughter now. I want a dentist who is affordable and will do a good job on her tooth. Am I asking for too much? Thanks. Sara T.

Sara – You’re not asking for too much. You can find an affordable dentist who gives quality care. Although you can ask for quotes by phone, you have to know what services each quote includes so you can make a good comparison. An estimate might give you an idea of each dentist’s fees, though.

A dentist’s fees vary based on the dentist’s skill, location, and the quality of materials used. Sometimes super-low rates involve using cheaper materials and shortcuts in procedures. If the cost for your daughter’s root canal treatment is significantly lower than other dentists in the area, it might not be a high-quality procedure. If shoddy work is done on her tooth, the root canal will need to be repeated, and she might lose the tooth altogether.

Select a few high-quality dentists. Ask friends for recommendations. Ask each dental office what is done to provide affordable care to patients who don’t have dental insurance. Payment plans or financing might be an option to help your family get affordable dental care.

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