Need a pain free dentist and a blindfold this time to get a tooth pulled


I’ve already had 2 teeth extracted and each time it was so very painful. On the 2nd tooth the dentist had a hard time getting it out and I could feel every pull on it. Now I am getting a bad toothache in a left lower molar and I am dreading getting it out. I am hoping that I can get blindfolded and maybe doubled up on the anesthetic so I won’t feel it this time. Is there a way that my dentist can just make it pain free or am I going to have to start looking for another dentist? Zach

Zach – A toothache doesn’t necessarily mean that your tooth needs to be extracted. The tooth is probably infected, which causes pain. If that’s the case, a root canal treatment is all you will need. After that, the tooth is protected with a dental crown.

Photo of a blonde man smiling, for pain free dentistry in Lowell, MA from Dr. Michael Szarek.

Sedation dentistry can help you have a pain-free appointment.

Rather than being blindfolded and receiving more local anesthetic than usual—or more than is safe—receiving sedation is a better alternative. The anti-anxiety medication you receive from a dentist is taken before your appointment. So you’ll need transportation to the appointment, but you’ll come in relaxed.

Sedation also decreases your sensitivity to pain. Is your dentist a gentle dentist? If so, he or she even knows how to make the numbing injection pain free!

But again, don’t get overly anxious. A root canal treatment can be painless from start to finish. You just have to find the right dentist. And that won’t be hard to do. If you think you need to switch dentists to get gentle treatment, do your research early. Schedule consultations with a few sedation dentists, discuss your concerns, and ask what he or she does to ensure that your treatment is pain free.


This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

What does it mean to be monitored at the sedation dentist?


Hi. I am the kind of patient who needs to gather information before going to a provider and asking for a specific treatment. I am interested in sedation dentistry, particularly for an upcoming treatment. My dentist doesn’t know that I planning on asking for it. I am not really sure that she offers it. I am reading on some dentists’ websites though that patients who get sedation are monitored. I would like to know what “monitored” really means. Is someone there just lookimg at you to make sure you’re still breathing or is there more to it? Thanks Kev

Kev – Good question. The monitoring that is done while you are sedated depends on the level of sedation used and your medical condition. The purpose of the monitoring is more than to ensure you are breathing—it’s to ensure your safety.

  • Automatic blood pressure cuff – Taking your blood pressuring during a dental procedure while you are sedated is critical to your overall health. If your blood pressure is consistently too high or too low, automatic readings will alert the staff to the issue so that necessary precautions can be taken.
  • Pulse oximeter – This device uses a light sensor to measure the oxygen in your blood. The device is clipped onto your finger and can detect any abnormal changes in your breathing that may not be noticeable to someone who is observing you.
  • EKG monitor – An EKG may not be required. Patients who have cardiovascular disease or who are at risk for it will need to be monitored.
  • In addition to the equipment that will be used to monitor your vital signs, a member of the dental team will always be with you in the treatment room.

After a review of your medical history, your sedation dentist will determine which level of sedation is right for your needs, as well as which forms of monitoring are required to ensure your safety. In addition to researching information on the subject, be sure to ask questions of your sedation provider to find out which levels are provided and what forms of monitoring are used in his or her office.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

My dentist told me to back off of booze so I won’t need dental implants


My dentist told me to back off of booze. I have some perio issues with loose teeth and she said that my drinking habits can be a contributing factor. Yes she told, not asked me to cut back on booze. I was almost going to be insulted but I figured if she is right, she is saving me money on dentures or dental implants. Then the thought occurred to me that she might have just been getting to try me to stop drinking so much because a few times she asked me if she smelled alcohol on my breath. Does alcohol have anything to do with gum disease? Thanks. Ron


Ron – Your dentist is looking out for your best interests. A recent (September 2015) article in the Journal of Periodontology Online, Alcohol Consumption and Periodontitis: Quantification of Periodontal Pathogens and Cytokines, reports the findings in a study that included non-drinkers, occasional drinkers, and regular drinkers.

Among regular drinkers, there were more instances of sensitive gums that bleed easily, and the need for periodontal (gum) disease care. Another symptom of periodontal disease is that gums start to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets between the gums and teeth. Even regular drinkers without periodontal disease exhibited deeper pockets than occasional drinkers and non-drinkers.

Why the difference between regular drinkers and occasional or non-drinkers? Alcohol consumption dries the mouth. A dry mouth contributes to plaque buildup, which inflames the gum tissue. Sensitive, inflamed gums bleed, and if left untreated, can separate from the teeth and in time result in full-blown gum disease.

If gums don’t properly adhere to your teeth, the teeth lack support and can loosen. Left untreated, loose teeth will eventually fall out, and yes, some form of tooth replacement, perhaps dental implants, will be recommended.

If you are a regular alcohol drinker, your dentist’s recommendation is correct. Consuming less alcohol can improve the situation.

It’s important for all patients to speak openly about their drinking habits with their dentist. This will help your dentist correctly advise you and assist you with preventive dental care and help you avoid the need for tooth replacement.

This post is sponsored by Lowell dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Why do my dental cleanings always hurt so bad and make my gums bleed?


I brush my teeth twice a day and I floss every night. My gums are healthy and I don’t have gum disease BUT with EVERY dental cleaning (I go twice a year) there is lots of pain and blood. Why? Is the hygienist too aggressive? That is what I am starting to believe. Thanks Vicki B.

Vicki – If your teeth and gums are healthy, and you experience pain and bleeding during dental cleanings, it is likely that your dental hygienist is cleaning your teeth too aggressively.

We suggest that you speak with her about your concerns and ask that your teeth be cleaned gently. Your request should be met with a positive response. If you continue to receive harsh dental cleanings, you can request the services of another hygienist in the office. You can also speak with your dentist about the issue. If the problem persists, you may have to find another dental practice with gentle hygienists to care for your needs.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

What can people with lactose intolerance eat or drink for healthy teeth?


Calcium is vital for strong bones and teeth. In fact, 99% of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones and teeth to support their function and structure. When calcium intake is low, bones and teeth weaken and lose density. Deficiency of this nutrient promotes tooth decay.

Milk and dairy products made from milk provide a good source of calcium. But many people—both adults and children are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance affects an estimates 30 to 50 million American adults. What can you do to ensure you get enough calcium to keep your teeth healthy?


  • Check with your medical doctor to confirm that it’s okay for you to take calcium supplements. Let your doctor know about any herbal supplements or prescription medication you take. Note that some experts suggest that children who are lactose intolerant receive their intake from calcium-rich foods. Consult with your child’s pediatrician before giving him or her calcium supplements.
  • Eat foods that are rich in calcium, including green leafy vegetables (e.g., Chinese cabbage, kale, and broccoli), orange juice, soya products, tofu, legumes, nuts, fish, and other calcium-fortified foods.

If you need to improve your calcium intake, supplement it through diet, and speak with your medical doctor for suggestions. If you think insufficient calcium intake is affecting your teeth, speak with your dentist. He or she will have suggestions on how to protect your teeth.

This post is sponsored by Lowell dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.