Getting crowns done...a question

Has anyone ever gotten a crown put on their molars? And, if so, have you ever gotten it done using nitrous oxide? I have a rather profound fear of dentist and getting work done on my teeth, since I didn’t start getting any sort of dental care until I was in my 20’s and, sadly, I have pretty bad teeth. I’m informed that I have several cracked teeth that are in fairly dire need of repair, and that this will entail getting crowns put on them (as well as some other cosmetic and cavity type work), and that this is all going to take several hours (up to 5 hours possibly :eek:), and that they will be using nitrous oxide. However, they say I won’t be asleep, which confuses me…and also fills me with a bit of apprehension, since I have a pretty serious gag reflex and also don’t know if I can sit in a chair for 5 hours while someone pokes me in the mouth (I also have an issue with my jaw locking open when I yawn and things like Novocain don’t seem to work very well on me either). Anyone ever gotten something similar to this done?

I just got an implant done and they used a local anesthetic not nitrous oxide. I haven’t seen a dentist use nitrous for ages. They seem to love to poke people with that huge long-ass metal syringe. Guess I wasn’t much help. :slight_smile:

Come to think of it, when they operated on my eye, they didn’t put me out either. I was awake for the whole procedure. It’s really disconcerting to see them coming at your eye with scalpels and such.

Hi XT, I’ll bet most people here have had crowns on their molars. It’s a pretty standard procedure, and any competent dentist will have it down to an art. Nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas-it won’t knock you out, but it will relax you and you’ll feel pretty good.

I think you may have had an inexperienced dentist who didn’t hit the right nerves rather than novocaine “not working very well” on you. If you have any pain, the dentist will stop and give you more.

Dental work isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world, but there are far worse things. The benefits are very much worth it.

They’re two different things. Local anesthetic (I’m assuming you mean novocaine) is meant to physically deaden the nerves in the area. Nitrous oxide is an inhaled gas meant to relax nervous patients. If you haven’t had it used, you probably haven’t needed it.

I had nitrous oxide once when the dentist was doing some work and he indicated that I’d have to come back a couple of times to finish it all. During the procedure it was like I was drunk or high; I was aware he was drilling and stuff, I just did not care. Nothing hurt. At the end, after I sobered up from the gas (which really happens fairly quickly, unlike being drunk), I asked when I needed to come back and he said, oh, I had a cancellation and I finished it all. I looked at the clock and I’d been there around 3 hours. It had seemed like maybe 30 minutes. So, I don’t think you’ll mind the 5 hour ordeal at all, if your experience is like mine.

Get the nitrous if they offer it! Awesomeee stuff as posted above. You simply do not care what is going on. Srsly. They could have taken off all my clothes and done the procedure in the lobby and I would not care! LaLaLand but you’re awake - just disassociated from what is going on around and within you.

I had my wisdom teeth all 4 extracted with nitrous. Crowns I just had local and that was fine too.

Well, it doesn’t sound as bad as maybe I was thinking then. As I said, I didn’t get any sort of dentistry (or any sort of oral care at all) until I was in my mid-20’s, and I haven’t had much done since then…in fact, this was the first time I’d been back to the dentist in over 10 years. The last things I had done decades ago were extremely painful, even with Novocaine, so I was a bit apprehensive about them doing anything without completely knocking me out…especially for 5 hours.

Its possible that novacaine doesn’t work well on you. This can be due to accessory nerve supply to the tooth, but from what my dentist told me, it’s usually due to infection. The infection causes pH changes that affect the Novacaine and it doesn’t work as well. (It’s not rare for drugs to have an optimal pH range). Anyway, I don’t know if your situation is an anatomical one or a situational one.

I had to have a broken infected tooth extracted after a root canal gone horribly wrong, and my dentist used nitrous. I’m sure it hurt, but I just didn’t care.

I’ve had two successful root canal + crown procedures. After the trauma of the previous root canal. I was so panicked that I needed a Valium. Other than my mindless and quite embarrassing ramblings, it wasn’t a bad experience. My (new & improved) dentist uses a specialist for the root canal, but he fits and places the crowns.

My jaw will lock up too. I recently needed 7 small fillings, and we took quite a few breaks and he also uses some special kind of block to keep my mouth open. If you have a good dentist, it shouldn’t be a traumatic and horribly painful experience.

Plus one on the nitrous. Not for pain, the injected anesthesia is for that, but the nitrous seems to compress time so two hours seems like a lot less. You’re kind of there but above it all.

I’ve had dentists offer Xanax for anxiety stemming from root canals. It was kind of amazing. I really didn’t have a care in the world, and wasn’t at a concerned with the guy with his hands in my mouth.

Similarly, dentists sometimes offer Ativan (lorazepam), another benzodiazepine, to their patients. I’ve never used benzos with dental work.

I’ve had root canals and worse (infected abscesses excised) with and without nitrous. My take:

– The first few times, the nitrous was helpful because I was so phobic paranoid apprehensive about it all.

– After that, as I began to understand that Novocaine (or Xylocaine or whatever they use) actually works, and as dentists began to shy away from nitrous, I found that I didn’t need it. I’ve had some root canals, crowns, and abscess surgery without it.

On two occasions that I remember, I found it necessary to ask the dentist to squirt some more Novocaine, in mid-procedure. Once when there was a problem (apparently the abscess physically blocked the Novocaine from getting to the nerve where it was needed), he squirted some directly into the hole in the tooth! When he stuck the needle in there, it hurt like a sumbitch – for about one tenth of one second. Then I didn’t feel a thing.

Here’s a tip: Holding your mouth open for a long time gets your jaw muscles sore. It would help if there was a way to hold your mouth open for you. And guess what! There is! It’s called a bite block – a block of rubber they can stick in your mouth to hold your mouth open. But for whatever reason, it seems dentists won’t use it unless you ask. Apparently most patients don’t like it. But I found it quite helpful in preventing sore jaw muscles afterward. Ask about it!

I’m hard-to-freeze (it must be accessory nerves, not infection, because it’s happened every time of the 30 or so times I’ve had work done), so I get sedation dentistry done. I tried nitrous once, and I didn’t have the great experience you guys have had - it made it a little better, but I’m still going with sedation dentistry. For five hours of work, I’d recommend it for you, too - you take a few pills, they put a warm blanket on you, it feels like you take a nap, then it’s over before you know it.

You should avoid all drugs for dentistry and have all procedures done at half past two in the afternoon. Then, then when two-thirty comes your way, you can transcend dental medication.

On a more serious note, for those of you still not groaning, there is no excuse for modern dentistry to have any pain. There are a number of pain relieving techniques. They can give you specialized injections that are related to but not novacaine administered with equipment that will not leave you feeling paralyzed in your jaw. They can give you a sedative to make the anxiety go away and time pass. And they should.

I agree. White-knuckling it through a dental procedure should be a thing of the past.

If the dentist offers nitrous, definitely go for it. If your anxiety is severe enough, consider taking an oral sedative beforehand as well. If the dentist pooh-poohs this, find another dentist.

I’ve had crowns on most of my molars. I have severe dental anxiety, due to a pretty significant problem with getting numb enough dating back to age 13 or there abouts. Two shots of novocaine that time and I was still in pain.

I won’t regale you with the tale of my first root canal but, well, it was not pretty.

Then I switched dentists, told the new dentist of the history, and she said “Here’s what we’ll do: A Halcion about an hour before, nitrous during, you’ll be relaxed, it’ll be easier to get you numb, you won’t be aware of time passing…”. And we did, and I had 3 crowns and a bunch of other stuff done in one session and oh. my. gawd, it didn’t HURT.

See, anxiety can really worsen pain, and make it harder for anesthetics to do their thing. So getting you as relaxed as possible beforehand makes it all that much better.

Since then I’ve improved to the point where I can get a filling (and recently, a crown) done with “just” nitrous. I had a bunch of stuff last year where she needed to work on 3 teeth, and I opted for the oral sedative along with the nitrous; she was surprised (new dentist, the one mentioned above had retired) but went along with it; she’d done nitrous with me in the past as I assured her that it would make it easier on EVERYONE if I was relaxed and not terrified.

Here’s a hint though: A crown usually requires two visits: they put the temporary crown on first, and the permanent one on a week or so later (most offices send it out to a lab). They don’t think you need novocaine for the second one - but with all but the most recent of mine, I really did need the anesthetic (didn’t need nitrous though). So if you’re nervous about that, or even if you feel a twinge, insist on the anesthetic.

And, take a painkiller beforehand - I’ve heard it reduces post-procedural discomfort.

I’ve had additional root canals since the horrifying one. Both with an oral sedative and nitrous. I assured the endodontist both times that he really, really REALLY did not want me conscious. He took my advice and prescribed the halcion. I remember during the first of those, at one point feeling vaguely like something was sort of thinking about hurting… then it stopped. Nice.

If you’ve never had nitrous: I hate how it feels when it first kicks in. I feel a bit panicky, and my fingers seem to go a bit numb. Then the relaxation sets in and it’s nice and I’m always a little disappointed when it’s time to turn it off. I wouldn’t do it recreationally (especially with the unpleasant induction phase) but it’s a mildly pleasant feeling to be that relaxed. Plus, with just nitrous (vs. an oral sedative) you can drive yourself home.

There’s no way they would use nitrous oxide alone. My bet is that the dentist will use a local (novacaine) in addition to the nitrous.

In general a single crown is a very easy and quick deal. They don’t get all that close to the nerves, just wear down the edge of the tooth. On top of the cavity/root canal work it really seems like nothing. Mine have been three to 4 minutes of grinding, then 10 minutes of waiting for the mold to set. It sounds like you just have a large number of simple processes to get through. If you don’t need the root canal it will be more a problem of being bored(hehe)/jaw getting tired than any thing else.

I have a mouthful of crowns- something like 6 or 8 without counting, and I haven’t ever had anything but the injected anesthetic.

The only ones where the drilling was uncomfortable were the ones that were borderline on needing root canals (very deep decay), and that was easily solved by a second injection.

To me, the most uncomfortable part of the entire procedure is when they jam floss down between your tooth and gums to make room for the mold to get the right contour of the tooth a bit below the gumline. Doesn’t hurt while they do it, but later that day after the novocaine (or whatever) wears off, it’s not very comfortable, but within the abilities of ibuprofen to alleviate.

Otherwise, it’s not much more than taking a mold of your existing teeth, filling your cavities, shaping the remaining tooth & fillings into a particular shape, taking a mold of the finished reshaped tooth, making you a temporary crown, and then when the permanent one comes in later, they glue it on and spend a while getting it to fit right.

THAT is the most important stage; don’t mess around with getting the crown to fit right; it’ll be fairly uncomfortable if you don’t- pressure on crowns isn’t real comfortable.

I was really apprehensive about getting my teeth worked on in my late 20s (a few years ago). Mostly because my parents didn’t take me to the dentist regularly when I was a kid, and then I had a bad experience in my early 20s with a real dickhead. I needed to take care of a few painful cavities, so I did a pretty exhaustive search. I ended up picking one that was young, female, nice, spoke good English, and was willing to treat low-income patients. I had decent dental insurance and paid for my treatment, because I could afford to. But IMO, dentists who provide their services philanthropically tend to be nicer.

We talked before I had any work done. If I’d felt the slightest bit of unease, I was ready to run out the door. But she was great. It didn’t hurt that she was also a wizard at aiming the novocaine. One time I felt some residual sensation. Not quite pain, but almost. She stopped RIGHT AWAY to give me another shot, which numbed me up fully. Any dentist who wouldn’t offer pain relief in the middle of a dental procedure deserves to be fired out of a cannon, into the sun. And blasted on Yelp.

Anyway! I came out the other side of my dental phobia just fine. I didn’t need laughing gas or to be knocked out, once I felt reassured that she wasn’t going to massacre my teeth. I even stopped having teeth-related nightmares after visiting her. So, step 1: find a good, kind, competent, compassionate dentist. The rest is gravy.

BTW, I will no longer consider visiting male dentists or doctors (which is totally sexist of me, but has a 0% failure rate so far).

Maybe off-topic, but make sure you need this dental work and consider getting a second opinion if you’re not entirely sure. My wife has been a dental hygienist for over 20 years and has always worked in multiple offices simultaneously. You would be shocked at how many dentists make assessments based on their financial needs/desires and not their patients’.