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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.


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.

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.

Cater to Cowards without Sedation?

September 1, 2016

I’m a total coward when it comes to dentistry. I know there are dentists who advertise as catering to cowards, but when I call their office, it seems all they do is sedate you. I’m not too keen about that either. Is there any way a dentist can cater to fearful patients without sedation?

Laura O. – Washington


I can understand your feelings. Sedation is a common way for dentists to deal with anxiety in their patients. However, it’s not the only way.

Some dentists have a gentle manner and technique about them. Their patients feel completely at ease. These dentists are perfectly comfortable with anxious patients and have a way of putting them at ease.

Each dentist that works with fearful patients have their own way of going about it. For instance, Dr. Swearingen uses an instrument called “The Wand”. It allows him to give completely painless injections.

You can read more about it on his Cater to Cowards page.

I’d call around to some dentists. If their only method for dealing with fearful patients is to sedate them, move on to someone else.

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

Can I wait to see my old gentle dentist?

July 25, 2016

I had a great dentist. He was so kind and gentle and used to brag that he “caters to cowards”, of which I was the biggest. I had to move a few hours away. I have visited a dentist in my new area, but she was rough and impatient. I had quite a bad experience. Now I’ve had a filling come out. I’ll be going home over Thanksgiving. Can I wait to see my old dentist or do I have to get it taken care of right away?

Olivia J. – Branson, MO


There are few things worse than having to leave a loved and trusted care giver. Unfortunately, it is too distant a time to wait until Thanksgiving holiday for you to get this looked at. There is a reason the filling fell out. It could even mean that there is a new infection.  However, even if it was just a fluke that it fell out, leaving your tooth exposed that long could be quite dangerous.

That doesn’t mean that you have to go to the insensitive dentist. You can mark her off your list. There are too many kind, gentle dentists for you to have to waste your time and money on one that isn’t.

If you’ll do an internet search for a “cater to cowards” dentist or a “sedation dentist”, you’re more likely to have a good 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.

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