I’m back from another tour of duty. I don’t like people knowing this too much but I have PTSD. It’s mostly under control with medicine. I have avoided the dentist because of it. But, I’m afraid if I keep doing that I’ll run into problems and I won’t be able to scope the layout out ahead of time. In your experience or research have you come across things which help patients with my situation?
There are quite a few soldiers in your position. Fortunately, it’s one that has a solution. I’m appreciative of the service you give to your country. I know it takes a toll on you as well as your family. It’s a sacrifice I don’t feel we do enough to honor.
In your place, I’d suggest you go see a sedation dentist. Specifically, I’d like you to see one who offers oral conscious sedation. This is a strong sedation. Most people sleep through the procedure. At the very least, you’ll be completely relaxed and you’ll be much more able to get numb.
The Importance of Meeting with Your Sedation Dentist
Any decent sedation dentist will have a consultation with you before your appointment. They’ll want to go over any medications you’re on, including over-the-counter to ensure they don’t use a form of sedation which will interfere with anything you’re taking.
However, there’s an additional edge of importance for you. As you certainly know, people dealing with PTSD have triggers which can affect their reactions. Some might be triggered by a needle (or any sharp implement) coming toward them. Others may struggle with someone coming up behind them unannounced. If you know your triggers, make certain you tell the dentist so he can make certain he avoids them.
You’re wise to be proactive about your dental care. As you said, if you were to develop a dental emergency you’d have very little control over the type of dentist you saw, nor would you necessarily have the time to work around your PTSD.
This is an excellent way to ease yourself back into dental care. One thing to be aware of, and I know this part will be tough to swallow for a strong, independent soldier, but you will be required to have someone drive you to and from your appointment, as well as stay with you after the procedure. This is because you will not be lucid or steady on your feet.
Make sure it’s someone you trust completely given your specific circumstances.
Again, thank you for your incredible service. God Bless America.
This blog is brought to you by La Jolla Dentist Dr. Steven Doan.