Tag Archives: Plano TX dental anxiety

3 Reasons Not to Sedate Yourself before a Dental Appointment

Head and shoulders photo of a man and woman lying in a field of flowers, for information on sedation dentistry from Plano TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Sedation dentistry helps you relax

Some estimates show that 80% of Americans have at least some anxiety about dental appointments. Sedation dentistry can help. In Plano, TX Dr. Miranda Lacy is a female dentist who provides sedation to help you remain calm and have productive dental visits. But should you sedate yourself before your dental appointment? Doing so can be risky. And there are several reasons you should allow your dentist provide medication to help you relax.

1. How Much Sedation Do You Need?

Your dentist can make an accurate determination. There are several factors that affect how much sedation you need.

  • Complexity and length of your dental procedure
  • Your anxiety level
  • Your medical and prescription history

If you decide to self-medicate for sedation before your dental appointment, you can take too much or too little of the medication. Either condition won’t agree with your dental procedure.

  • Too little – You won’t be relaxed enough, and your dentist won’t be able to proceed with treatment.
  • Too much – You won’t be able to respond to your dentist’s questions or instructions.
  • Adequate sedation – It relaxes you enough to relieve anxiety, yet allows you to respond to your dentist during treatment. It also decreases your sensitivity to pain. Your relaxed state will increase the amount of dental work that can be completed in a single visit.

2. Will Your Own Anti-Anxiety Medication Work?

Dr. Lacy provides sedation with either nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation.

  • Nitrous oxide – It is colorless, odorless gas, also known as laughing gas. You breathe it in to achieve a sense of calmness and well-being.
  • Oral conscious sedation – Dr. Lacy will give you an anti-anxiety pill to take in advance of your appointment.

If you already take anti-anxiety medication, let Dr. Lacy know the name of the medication, dosage, and how often you take it.

3. What about DIY Sedation before a Dental Appointment?

There are various ways that people try to sedation themselves before a dental appointment. But you shouldn’t try any of them.

  • Smoking – Smoking of any kind—whether it’s tobacco or marijuana—causes inflammation and slows down the healing process. Depending on the type of dental procedure you receive (e.g., dental implants to replace missing teeth, extractions), your dentist will recommend that you stop smoking at least a few weeks before. Mental impairment from smoking marijuana can affect your judgment if the dentist asks you to make an unexpected decision during a dental procedure.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol can thin blood, inhibit blood clotting, depress the central nervous system, and cause rapid or irregular heartbeat. Those factors can negatively affect any dental procedure. Don’t use alcohol to help you relax before a dental appointment.
  • Prescribed sedatives – You must fully disclose your current prescriptions, prescription history, frequency, and dosage when you complete patient forms for the dentist. Even if you’re an existing patient, keep your dentist informed about any new medications you take. A record of your prescriptions will help Dr. Lacy determine which type of sedation medication to use for your dental appointment. If necessary, she will consult with the prescribing doctor.

Sedation dentists are trained to safely administer medication before your dental appointment. Don’t try to do it yourself. If you’re interested in learning about your options, call us to request an appointment, or complete our Request an Appointment form.

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

Will sedation dentistry interfere with my PTSD medication?

I take medication for stress from some traumatic events I experienced during childhood. During the past 3 years, I have been able to cope with therapy and medication. Situations that can potentially make me nervous are heightened because I am predisposed to anxiety. Dental appointments are a real challenge for me. I manage to get through the x-rays and exams. Now I need a root canal and crown and the thought of it is making me nauseous. My dentist mentioned sedation. The office has a list of my current medications. Although he says everything will be okay, I am afraid that there might be a conflict between the sedation from the dentist and my PTSD medication. Should I be concerned? – Jen

Jen – If you are taking any medication, you should always be concerned about how it will interact with other medications. The mild anti-anxiety medication given for sedation dentistry is typically compatible with most medication. If your dentist has a list of your current medications, he can double-check for contraindications and you receive a compatible medication.

Sedation dentistry helps you relax so you won’t be focused on what’s happening during your dental appointment. Many patients find that it also dulls their sensitivity to pain.

When you speak with your dentist again, talk to him about your anxiety disorder. Let him know your concerns about sedation dentistry, as well as what can be done to increase your comfort level during the appointment. Some patients are more relaxed when they are notified before a dentist or a staff member enters the room, instead of being quietly approached from behind.

Communication through each step of the treatment process can also help. It might be helpful if you are told in advance what will happen during treatment and why, as well as what you can expect in terms of sounds and sensations.

Another way to increase your comfort level during sedation dentistry is to ask your dentist the name of the medication you will be given to help you relax. Speak with your medical doctor or pharmacist about the medication and any possible contraindication with your current medication. You can also do your own research on any contraindications with the medication.

Best wishes for an anxiety-free dental appointment and a healthy smile.

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


I have PTS and need my service dog at dental appointments

Hi. I am a Vet with PTS and there are certain situations that make my anxiety worse. Before the incident that caused the PTS I was nervous about dentists appointments but now it’s over the top. I agreed to sedation but under the condition that my service dog is present with me for dental procedures. My dog isn’t just a service dog. If in any way I am being harmed she will come to my defense. It is just the state of my being drowsy and out of full control that makes me uneasy. I’ve had the dog at the office before but when I told my hygienist that I needed to bring the dog for any dental procedure beyond my cleaning it was clear to me that she doesn’t like dogs. I could tell by the way the conversation went. I know its not up to her but I can’t take any flack about this. I just can’t. Do you have any suggestions about how to deal with this? I am thinking about switching to a woman dentist for a little more compassion by the dentist and staff. Jamison


Your anxiety and the history of it make it understandable that dental appointments are a challenge for you. Sedation dentistry is the right choice. Your oral health is important, so whatever is needed for you to achieve it should be respected.

Dental offices have different policies about animals in the office, but they should be understanding and respectful of your service dog. Speak with your dentist in person to explain the cause of your anxiety and why it’s so important to be accompanied by your service dog.

Sedation dentists understand anxiety. They are empathetic to patients who are anxious, and they are interested in knowing the source of your anxiety. Your candid conversation will help your dentist and the staff members properly care for your needs.

If for some reason your wishes are not respected, contact several other sedation dentists’ offices and request a consultation with each dentist. You will find the right dentist who will make the effort to ensure your dental visit is comfortable and productive.

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


Marijuana before my dental appointment

Marijuana makes me feel easy and calm like I’m hand gliding over the beach on a warm day. I use it on weekends to help me relax. Every once in a while I will use it during the week depending on my stress level. I have been on anti-depressants before and they made me get thoughts of hurting myself, but I’ve never had those thoughts with MJ. So I don’t need it as often as I took the prescription meds. I’m going to schedule a root canal for one tooth, another one needs to be pulled, and later I’ll get a dental bridge for the one that will be pulled. After the dentist described everything he had to do, I thought to myself that a little MJ before my appointment would be in order. Instead my dentist talked to me for 10 minutes about sedation and a little pill I would take before the appointment. I am not feeling the anti-anxiety meds idea, not at all. So here’s my question: if MJ is my relaxation method of choice can I refuse sedation and maybe sign off on something to say that I realize what I am doing. Thank you very kindly. Mitch

Mitch – Although you use marijuana to help you relax, it shouldn’t be used before or after your dental appointments. Here’s why:

  • Smoking of any sort interferes with the oral healing process. An abstract from February 2008 Journal of the American Medical Association noted that in one study, it was found that periodontal (gum) disease is linked to regular marijuana use—and it increases the risk.
  • When a tooth is extracted or when a root canal is performed, your gums are at risk of infection. It’s best to avoid anything that can prevent proper healing. Keep in mind that the things you need to avoid after your dental procedures aren’t limited to smoking. You will be given instruction for proper after care. The goal is to help you have successful, infection-free treatment.
  • The action of sucking or drawing from tobacco or marijuana cigarettes can dislodge blood clots. The smoke itself is harmful to the teeth and gums.

Sedation dentistry provides a low dose of anti-anxiety medication. It is not for daily, long-term use, but instead is taken before your dental appointment. Speak with your dentist about your concerns for the medication used to help you relax. He will answer your questions and discuss your options.

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

Dentist refuses to sedate me for 3 fillings

I am a dental phobic. My dentist in Austin understood that and I had no problems getting sedation from her. Now I have a new dentist who tells me I have 3 cavities and refuses to give me sedation. He says that he is gentle and I won’t feel a thing, so no sedation is required. How can I convince him to sedate me before drilling out the cavities? Thanks Clayton

Clayton – You may not be able to convince your dentist to provide you with sedation for your cavities, but you can schedule an appointment to explain your fear to him. If you are not successful, consider seeing another dentist who will provide you the sedation needed to restore your teeth.

There are different levels of sedation, including nitrous oxide, conscious oral sedation, and IV sedation. Many patients successfully receive treatment with nitrous oxide, also called “laughing gas.” It relaxes them enough to have a productive appointment.

For patients that need a higher level of sedation, conscious oral sedation is mild anti-anxiety medication that will make you relaxed and sleepy throughout your dental appointment. It is taken an hour in advance of the appointment. You need to arrange transportation to the appointment. When you arrive, you will be relaxed and ready for treatment. IV sedation is the highest level of sedation.

When you choose a sedation dentist, ask him or her about training and experience in sedation, the levels of sedation offered, and the results you can expect.

Maintaining good oral health is made easier with sedation. You can find a dentist who will respect your anxiety and work to alleviate it to preserve and restore your teeth.

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