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Pediatric Dental Care and Dental Anxiety

January 27, 2018

dental patient covering mouthMy son had always been okay at the dentist until our last appointment. I’m not quite sure what happened. The only thing different is he was told he had a cavity and would need a filling. He went nuts and started bawling. He’s never even had a cavity before so I don’t know what he’s afraid of. There hasn’t been any experience for him to build on. What do I do to help him? He’s terrified now.



Why Won’t Our Dentist Give My Son a White Filling?

January 13, 2018

person smilingI don’t understand why my dentist is willing to give me a white filling but not my son. He said children can’t have them, but I know my niece gets them. They live in a different state so I can’t go to their dentist. What’s up? I don’t mind going to a different dentist for my son. He’s only seen him once because he doesn’t see children until they’re 10.

Stacey L.


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.

Will A Dentist Ask To See My Marijuana Prescription?

May 31, 2016

I have dental anxiety. I was thinking if I could just smoke a joint before my appointment, it would relax me enough to get through the appointment. I live in a state will legal medical marijuana. If I told him I had a prescription would he ask to see it and turn me in if I don’t actually have a prescription?

Name Withheld

Dear Anonymous,

You’re not the first patient to ask about the use of marijuana before a dental appointment. I’m going to suggest something completely different, especially since you don’t actually have a prescription. Why risk it?

There is something your dentist can do to relax you during your appointment without any risk of illegal behavior. Have you ever heard of nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is sometimes called laughing gas. It will relax you all while allowing you to be alert during your appointment. It has the added benefit of helping any local anesthetic of being more effective.

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

Why doesn’t my anesthetic work?

January 23, 2016

I can’t figure out why my local anesthetic doesn’t work. Whenever my dentist tries to numb me, it just doesn’t work. Is there something wrong with me?

Jodi A. – Atlanta


It’s not that there is anything wrong with you per se, it is more likely that you have dental fear. As a result of fear, your metabolism kicks into high gear and eats up the anesthetic.

What you’ll have to do is deal with the fear in order to give the anesthetic the chance to work. I’m not saying see a therapist. There are things your dentist can do to help you. I would look for a dentist who caters to patients with dental fear.

He or she can give you nitrous oxide. It takes the edge off of the procedure for you, which helps relax you. When you’re relaxed, you local will work more efficiently.

You may also want to look for a dentist who uses “the wand”. It gives pain free shots, especially if your fear kicks into high because of the needle.

This blog is brought to you by Oklahoma City Dentist Dr. Don Swearingen.

I hit my dentist whenever he tries to give me a needle

May 29, 2015

I have this horrible reflex action where I hit at my dentist whenever he tries to give me a needle for numbing. Normally, he’s used to it, but his last time I took him by surprise and actually hurt him. Have you heard of this before? Is there anything I can do to stop this?

Ellie W. – Montana


You’re not the only patient who stuggles with dental fear.  You must have a very kind dentist, to know he’s going to get a good whack when he treats you and still keep going. There is a solution.

Has your dentist ever suggested any kind of sedation, such as nitrous oxide?  This can relax you enough to make your appointment easier to deal with.

There are dentists who specifically advertise as catering to cowards. They enjoy working with fearful patients, because they want to help change their outlook about dentistry.

This blog is brought to you by Oklahoma city dentist Dr. Don Swearingen.

Is it OK to drink wine before going to the dentist?

March 31, 2015

I’m a total coward when it comes to the dentist. It’s been a while since I’ve been and now I’ve got a pretty severe toothache. I know I need to go and get it taken care of, but dentists make me seriously nervous. Is it okay if I drink a glass of wine before I go in? Wine relaxes me.

Stacey A. – Little Rock, AR


You’re not the only one who is uncomfortable with dentists, so don’t feel bad.  While it would be perfectly fine to have a glass of wine before you go to the dentist to shore up your courage, it could interfere with some of the things the dentist needs to do so make sure you let him know.

There is another option. There are other options. There are dentists who enjoy working with fearful patients. Some including Dr. Swearingen advertise that they “cater to cowards“.  They have methods or ways of making your dental appointment less fearful. If you’re worried about pain, most dentists work with nitrous oxide. That will help relax you and enable  the dentist to do any work he needs to do.  That will probably be more effective than wine.

This blog is brought to you by Oklahoma City Dentist Dr. Don Swearingen.


My dentist makes me sweat

September 24, 2014

I have a real problem and I don’t know what to do about it. Every time I go to the dentist, I break out in a cold sweat. The last time, I actually left before my appointment started, making up an excuse of a family emergency.  I don’t know why this is happening.

Ezra B. – Mississippi


You’re suffering from dental anxiety. it is fairly common. I wouldn’t despair yet. There are many dentists who cater to fearful patients. They generally have a better chairside manner than most, are more gentle, and practice some form of sedation dentistry.

You may just need something to relax you, such as nitrous oxide.  However, if your fear is stronger, you might need something stronger, like oral concious sedation or IV sedation.

If your current dentist isn’t good with fearful patients, I would look around for another dentist. There are plenty out there who take great pride in helping people in your situation.

This blog is brought to you by Oklahoma City Dentist Dr. Don Swearingen


Couldn’t get numb

March 30, 2013

Filed under: Sedation Dentist — Tags: , , , — okcitydentist @ 8:41 pm

I had a root canal treatment a few months ago and it was horrible. The numbing medicine didn’t work. I just found out I need another one and I am absolutely terrified. Is there some way to get me numb?

Penny D.- Texas


Anxiety can sometimes keep you from getting numb with a local anesthetic.  Generally, a root canal treatment isn’t so bad, so I don’t want you frightened about your next one.  There is something you can do about the numbing problem.

The first thing is to get some nitrous oxide before you get the novocaine shot. The nitrous oxide is a mild relaxant and will take the edge off your anxiety. If however, you want something deeper, you can go to a sedation dentist and they can do oral conscious sedation. Then you will be completely relaxed during your appointment. Some patients don’t even remember the procedure.

This blog is brought to you by Oklahoma City Dentist Dr. Don Swearingen.