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Emergency Dentist Killed My Tooth

February 28, 2018

dental patient holding cheekI had to go to an emergency dentist because of a pimple on my gums that was causing me massive pain. The emergency dentist did a root canal treatment and gave me a crown. I was still in quite a bit of pain. Now, a few weeks later, I realize the tooth next to it is gray. He killed my tooth. What do I do? Should he treat it for free?



Why Do I Get a Toothache If I Brush and Floss?

February 15, 2018

dental floss and brushI brush twice every day and floss every night. I’m not a huge fan of the dentist so don’t really go, but I never thought it necessary because of my good habits. However, lately, I’ve been getting a toothache. Why would that happen if I do everything I’m supposed to?




May Need to Find a New Compassionate Dentist

November 25, 2017

dentist with male patientI’ve been going to the same dental clinic for a while. My dentist had a tragedy in his family and decided to retire early. I loved him because he was so compassionate. He knew I was skittish in the dental chair and always took his time so I’d feel comfortable. He’d talk me through everything. I know for certain that he did talk to the person who took over his practice about my anxiety because he told me he did. Yet, when I went in for my first appointment, I felt rushed. He exam also felt a bit rough to me. By the end of it I was shaking. There were lots more people there than usual. The wait was longer than I’d ever experienced and when I signed in I noticed that several of us were down for the same exact appointment time. I wonder if I should look for a new dentist. I don’t think it’s going to be at all like my old clinic.

Danielle L.


Am I In Danger After Emergency Dentist Perforated My Sinus?

October 12, 2017

I’m really worried something is seriously wrong. I recently had a friend die from an infection that grew out of control and I want to be careful not to allow myself to get into the same situation. I’ll admit up front I don’t like dentists and haven’t been to one in a few years. So, I wasn’t extraordinarily surprised when my molar started hurting. I called an emergency dentist and he told me to come on in. When I got there he said my molar and two other teeth need to be extracted. I was disappointed but realized I’d caused the problem. So, I agreed to the extractions. He was willing to do them right at that moment. Though scared, I did want to just get it over with. The procedure took a bit, but I got through it. When it was done, they never mentioned anything went wrong. I went home thinking outside of feeling like a Hillbilly with my missing teeth, everything should be okay from here. Then my nose started making these “popping” sounds when I breathe. I called the office and they said to take a decongestant, never hinting at a problem. The pain grew worse and I developed a fever. I called them back asking to come in and have them look at it. They told me not to come in and they’d just call me in an antibiotic. I took that but still continued getting worse. I was two weeks out from the procedure and started having discharge. The fever is still there too. This time I didn’t give them a choice and just told them I was on my way in, not wanting to risk a spreading infection. It wasn’t until I was in the chair again that they said they’d perforated my sinus during the extraction. They went in and pulled out bone fragments. I couldn’t believe it. They said that should take care of the problem and sent me home with a refill on the antibiotic. It’s five days later and nothing has improved. What do I do? Am I in danger?

Hailey M.

Dear Hailey,

Oklahoma City Emergency Dentist

Wow! What a disaster. This emergency dentist has totally blown this situation. In the first place, they should have let you know immediately when your sinus was perforated. Not only is it your body, but you need to know what the protocol for healing is. For instance, in your case, it would be dangerous to blow your nose normally at this point. It needs to be treated gently.

That being said, I wouldn’t panic, though it does need to be dealt with promptly. You’re right that infections can’t be left untreated and it sounds to me like you’re on the wrong antibiotic. Truthfully, you should have been feeling better after just two days on an antibiotic. If you don’t, something’s wrong.

You may need to see an ENT at this point. Tell them exactly what you told me and they should get you in right away. At the very least, get your primary care physician to give you the right antibiotic. Try to find an emergency ENT. Most of these will heal on their own, but if it doesn’t, you may need surgery.

I’d also like to address your aversion to dentists. First, don’t feel guilty about that. Many people feel exactly the same way. Though, because it’s causing you to lose teeth I want to see if we can’t help give you a positive experience at the dentist (especially after this last one!). I’d like you to consider trying dental sedation. It will completely give you a much more pleasant experience at the dentist. In addition to making your dental care easier it will allow you to have more work done at each visit.

Additionally, you’ll need to look at tooth replacement options. Ideally, you’d want dental implants. But, if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may have some gum disease that needs to be dealt with first. IF you don’t, you could lose all your teeth.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Don Swearingen.

Do Dentists Even Care If Patients Are Scared?

July 26, 2017

I’ve always been nervous at the dentist. I don’t know why. Yet, I’ve never met a dentist who seemed to care. It’s discouraging because I want to take care of my teeth, but this last visit was the worst. I was a little jittery before the needle. I asked him to wait, but he said I was being a child and just did it anyway. I had to stay still because he was jabbing me, but I would have punched him if I could. Is there a dentist who can be a little patient? Yes, I’m a grown man. That doesn’t mean I’m thrilled to have a giant needle being stuck into my gums.

Luke A.

Dear Luke,

That is not typical behavior from a dentist, at least not any dentist I know. It’s not uncommon for adults to be just as uncomfortable at a dentist’s office as the younger set of patients. As a dentist, he should know that.

First, I want to assure you that not only can you find a compassionate dentist, but you can have dental appointments in a relaxing way.

There are dentists who specifically cater to nervous patients. Most of them offer some form of dental sedation as well. If it’s the shot which makes you the most nervous, Dr. Swearingen uses a different type of needle called “The Wand”. It gives pain-free injections.

Do a search for those type of dentists. You can search “gentle dentists”, “cater to cowards dentists”, or “sedation dentists”. After your search, I think it’s important you also look at their reviews on sites like Google or Yelp. You want to make sure that people who’ve been to their office have had good experiences.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Don Swearingen.

Can I Take Xanax Before Going to the Dentist?

May 26, 2017

I have avoided the dentist for years. I know it was stupid. And I know I am paying for it. I have a horrible toothache. Absolutely awful. So, now I HAVE to go to the dentist. I can’t deal with this. I do have a prescription for Xanax. It helps me with anxiety. Am I okay to take this so I can get through this appointment? I have no idea what I’m going to face when I get there, but I’m guessing at least one tooth will need work.

Paris W.


Don’t feel bad about your anxiety. There are many patients who are terrified of the dentist. I recently was talking to a 13-year-old girl about her dental anxiety. She talked about how when you’re laying in the chair, with the lights on you, and all those instruments coming at you, it feels like you’re having surgery awake. Then she panics.

You can take the Xanax if you have a prescription. Your doctor gave it to you for just these types of situations. However, you’ll want to let the dentist know what you’ve taken because he will want to avoid medication that will be counter-indicative with your prescription.

I want you to know there is another option that will allow you to get regular dental appointments without the anxiety you’re going through now. These appointments will keep you from having the type of dental pain and emergencies you’re having now. You’ll get regular care and issues can be taken care of before they become serious.

There are dentists who specialize in working with fearful patients. Often, if your anxiety is very strong, they’ll give you oral conscious sedation. In all likelihood, you won’t even remember the appointment. You’ll be completely relaxed. For many patients, this has changed their lives.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Don Swearingen.

Wine for White Fillings?

March 31, 2017

I suffered from a bit of dental anxiety. And by a bit I mean a lot. I need a filling. I’m hoping to get a white filling, but I’m having trouble scheduling an appointment.  Would it be okay for me to drink some wine before I go to the dentist? It should relax me.

Breeanne P. – San Diego


I’m glad you’re taking steps to go forward with a needed treatment, even though you’re fearful. Wine is one way of dealing with anxiety. However, it may keep the dentist from any necessary work. Don’t let that discourage you, though. There is a great solution.

There are dentists who specialize in helping patients with dental anxiety. You can usually find them with a simple internet search. Look for a “sedation dentist” or a “cater to cowards” dentist.  They can give you something which will relax you much better than wine.

Just be sure you keep moving forward. Your cavity will likely be a simple fix, but if you let it go too long, it could blow up into something more extensive, like needing a root canal treatment and dental crown.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Don Swearingen.

Sealant Rip-off From Dentist

March 13, 2017

I’m a little frustrated with our pediatric dentist. First, they insisted we get my son sealants. I actually didn’t mind that too much because I see the benefit of sealants. However, they refused to place them unless I also pay for nitrous oxide. I felt that wasn’t necessary, but sucked it up and paid the added expense.  We go back six months later for his next check-up and one of the sealants is missing. It fell off. Now they’re insisting I have it re-done at MY expense, with nitrous oxide again. Should I? I feel I’m being gouged.

Tara B. – Michigan


The dentist-patient relationship is an important one that requires trust, especially when you’re dealing with a pediatric dentist.  Our children are so important. We have enough to worry about with their safety, we should be able to put our guard down when interacting with their healthcare providers. It sounds to me like you feel you can’t trust your pediatric dentist. That may be a sign to get another one.

There isn’t a medical reason to use nitrous oxide when placing dental sealants. It’s a simple, painless procedure which shouldn’t require any type of sedation or numbing.  If your son is anxious at the dentist and has trouble calming down because of fear, that would be a reason for the nitrous. I don’t know your son, but you do.  I’ll let you decide if the nitrous was necessary in that case.

As to the sealant falling off, this bothers me also. Sealants should last for around ten years.  If they fall off that quickly it either means it wasn’t placed properly or your son eats a lot of hard or chewy/sticky food.  Obviously, that type of diet can destroy his teeth, so if that’s the case you’ll  want to re-evaluate. If you can’t see a reason his diet could have damaged the sealant, I’d ask them to replace the sealant at their expense.

If you’re uncomfortable with this pediatric clinic you can try another one or see if your dentist enjoys treating children. It’s not a necessity that children see a pediatric specialist unless a complicated issue comes up.  For basic services, a family dentist who loves children is just as adequate.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Don Swearingen.

Tell Me Your Needles Secret…Please?

January 25, 2017

I am deathly afraid of needles. Like Sleeping Beauty’s parents afraid. I have to get a crown. I’m scared. I was talking to my sister-in-law. She said she used to be afraid until she went to your clinic. She mentioned you have some kind of secret way of giving shots that makes it painless. Will you please share your secret so I can tell my dentist?

Oriana L. – Nebraska


I’m glad your sister-in-law had such a great experience. It’s important to us that we do the best for our patients. The secret is simple, but not easy. Find a dentist who cares about patients with dental anxiety.

They all have different methods for helping fearful patients, but beyond the methodology is the heart. The dentist understands your fear and cares. They’ll work with you. Some use nitrous and “the wand”, like Dr. Swearingen. Others use oral conscious sedation. However, the key component is a caring dentist.

Here’s how I’d recommend you find that dentist. First, do an internet search for a “sedation dentist” or a “cater to cowards dentist“. But, that’s not enough. The next thing I’d do is look up their reviews. See what people who’ve been in his or her chair have to say about their experience.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Don Swearingen.

My Husbands Embarrassed to Admit Anxiety

November 1, 2016

My husband has been avoiding the dentist for the last three years. The last time he went in was quite the negative experience for him. Now he’s stopped going. He tries to blame it on finances, but I know it’s really because he’s too afraid to go back. Is there a way I can help get him back to the dentist?

Julie B. – Carson City


Negative experiences at the dentist leave a lasting impact.  It’s sweet that he wants to appear brave and self-sacrificing to you. I bet there’s a way you could help him keep his pride while getting him back in the dental chair.

My recommendation would be to get information on sedation dentistry into his hand. A simple internet search will help you locate dentists who offer that in your area. You’ll likely even find your current dentist offers sedation. They sometimes advertise as sedation dentists or cater to cowards dentists.

If you’re worried about embarrassing him, you could print out some information and leave it around for him to find. Or, you could tell him you heard about how you could have completely pain free dentistry with sedation and were thinking about checking it out.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Don Swearingen.

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