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Dentistry/mouth dry during root canal


DR Backlund,
 I have a very strong fear about root canal procedure. When the dental dam is in place and my mouth is wide open. I need to swallow and am unable to do so and I panic. This comes about because there is not enough saliva to swallow. I just need a drop but dentists will not take my fear seriously. I am seriously scared and I do not know what to do.

Hi Tom,

I'm sorry to hear you are going through all this. Sometimes, when a patient is fearful, it will cause saliva to NOT be produced and can set off a panicky feeling in a patient, just as you describe.

There are a couple options for you that might help. The first, an easiest, is to be pre-medicated with something to relax you. Usually to be effective, you need to be REALLY relaxed which means you would not be capable of driving yourself to & from the dentist's office. We have used that often with good results.

The second option would be to find an endodontist that uses IV sedation...that's basically putting you out. Once again, you would not be able to drive yourself home and would also result in a much higher cost to you for your treatment, but is a very good option in situations like yours.

I would suggest you discuss these options with your family dentist and or endodontist and see if one will work to help you. You are NOT alone feeling like this. We see patients like you from time to time and I realize how tough it is to be a good patient. But there is help...believe me!

Best regards,

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD  


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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD


I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.


25 years practicing as a specialist

American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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