Is sedation possible if I have PTSD?

I was in the Army- active duty for 12 years. I’m not going to knock the dentists because I know they did the best they could with what they had, but I had a tooth go bad and having it pulled was brutal. I also left the service with some PTSD-related issues and I’m on medication to control them. Because of my experiences, I want to see a sedation dentist. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to react if I’m in the chair. I also have concerns about possible interactions between the medications I’m taking and anything the sedation dentist might give me. I’ll just go and get it done at a regular office if I have to, but I prefer to have the additional medications on board if it’s an option. What am I looking at here in terms of feasibility?  — Rusty

Thanks for writing, but more importantly, THANK YOU for your service, and for the sacrifices you continue to make every day on behalf of our country. Your situation is unfortunately fairly common, but it sounds like you’re on the right path.

You are probably an ideal candidate for sedation dentistry. The medications you’ll be given will help you relax, so you won’t be overly concerned about what’s happening. People who are prescribed sedatives as part of their dental treatment also have an easier time becoming numb, so you’re less likely to have any kind of pain response during treatment.

Most medications are perfectly ok to take along with traditional dental sedatives, but you’re going to want to take a full list of your meds into the dental office with you, so the doctor can check for any contraindications and make sure you’re given the right dose, based on what you’re already taking.

It’s important that you have a discussion with the doctor about your PTSD when you go in for your consultation. Don’t be afraid to speak frankly, just as you have done here. If certain things trigger your PTSD response, make sure the doctor and his staff know what those things are. For example, if you think you might react to the dentist coming in and sitting behind you without saying something first, make sure he knows this. It’s easy enough for him to walk around to the front and make sure you’re aware of his presence before he settles in beside you. No doubt, you’re well aware of what makes you feel unsettled, so as long as you communicate these things to the staff in advance, they’ll be glad to accommodate them.

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