Can Parents Be Present During Sedation?

My young son has a large cavity on his molar. Because it would be a bigger appointment to deal with it, the dentist wanted to use sedation. I agreed and scheduled the appointment. When we got there, they wouldn’t let me back with him. I refused treatment. They were annoyed and told me I wouldn’t find any office that would let me back during sedation. Is that true? If so, why?

Brenda W. – Virginia


I think they’re exaggerating a bit when they say there isn’t a dentist that would let you back there. Each individual office sets their own policy.

One of the reasons for not letting parents back in the operatory is to help with a child’s cooperation. In some cases, the parents can inadvertently transmit their nervousness to their child, causing them to react fearfully.

If the dentist can get them relaxed under sedation, the rest of the appointment goes smoothly, while the child relaxes in the chair.  There’s nothing to worry about.

However, it is your child. So, if you’re uncomfortable sending him back there without you, I’m certain you’ll be able to find a dentist who’ll allow you.

Don’t take too long getting this cared for. You don’t want him to end up losing the molar. You’ll want his molar to last many years.

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How Gullible Are You During Dental Sedation?

There a video that made the rounds on Facebook a while back. Some brothers pranked their sister, when she finished with a dental procedure that required sedation. They convinced her there was a zombie apocalypse. At the time, I laughed (along with the rest of the country), but now that I’m facing a procedure requiring dental sedation I’m a little worried. How susceptible will I be to suggestions?

Allie R. – Santa Monica, CA


I know the video you’re referring to. Like you, I laughed. Sedation Dentistry doesn’t make you gullible. It relaxes you. In fact, you’re so relaxed you’d be more likely to sleep through a zombie apocalypse than get ready to fight in one.

The most danger you’re in for embarrassment, is you’ll have less of a filter. You’ll be more likely to say exactly what you’re thinking.

If you’re concerned, there are some precautions you can take. First, don’t tell any friends you don’t trust about your procedure. You will have to have a friend with you throughout the day, because you’ll be woozy and not too stable on your feet. I’d be certain that was a friend you’re sure won’t use you for personal entertainment.

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Was My Emergency Dentist Incompetent?

I’m really disappointed after seeing the emergency dentist yesterday. I knew I was neglecting a filling. It was diagnosed about a year ago. I mentioned it to them when I called, but I also told them that I thought it was the tooth next to it that was bothering me now. They told me to come in and they’d take care of it. I assumed that meant were going to do the fillings I went in for the visit and he ran a couple of “tests,” which basically amounted to him hitting the teeth with his mirror a few times, which really hurt. He knew it would because I told them they hurt. He tells me that I need a filling, but not on the tooth that I already knew needed a filling, so I asked about the one with a cavity and he looked again and said I was right. He then says that I need to come back to have the fillings done. Well, I’m still in pain and the emergency dentist did nothing. I can’t help but wonder if he was in a hurry since it was the end of the day and, if he was in a hurry, could he have missed an infection? Maybe this isn’t the most competent dentist.


Dear Jeff,

It is concerning he didn’t catch the second infection until you said something. I can understand why this makes you doubt his abilities. He likely was in a hurry, as you surmised. I’m also concerned he didn’t give you anything for the pain.

Infections are usually obvious. If you had x-rays and an exam, it would be very difficult to miss. Cavities can cause some pretty strong tooth pain, especially if they are deep. It doesn’t always mean that there is an infection or that the teeth need root canals.

As far as the tests go, the doctor was probably trying to determine which teeth were bothering you the most. Sometimes teeth refer pain to their neighbors or teeth can be cracked and cause pain.

Going forward, I’d either call your dentist or a different emergency dentist if you don’t have one and explain what is going on. You’ll need to have those fillings done as soon as possible. Try to schedule an early appointment, if possible.

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