Are you one of the many adults who experience dental anxiety?
Many people avoid getting dental treatment because they’re afraid of all of the sharp tools and procedures that they perceive as painful! By doing this, however, they make their dental health worse.
Modern dentists have spent a lot of time working on dental pain management so patients can have a more comfortable experience, even during procedures such as fillings and root canals.
Let’s put your mind at ease. Keep reading to learn a few ways that dentists will help patients manage their pain.
- Local Anesthetic
A local anesthetic is a go-to during any dental procedure that could cause pain. Some dental hygienists and dentists even use it for deep cleaning or scaling procedures.
This anesthetic comes in the form of an injection. It will make the area that the dentist is working on numb and relaxed so the patient doesn’t feel anything. Patients may feel some pressure, but if they’re uncomfortable, the dentist can inject more anesthetic.
For many people, the anxiety of the shot and that initial pinch are the worst parts of the dental procedure.
While this option is great for pain (and it’s used in almost every restorative dental procedure regardless of other pain-management techniques), it does come with one downside. The numbness can last for several hours after the procedure is over!
- Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous oxide sounds scary, but its common name is “laughing gas!” Laughing gas doesn’t make you laugh, though. It calms you down and may even make you unaware of the entire procedure.
When you use laughing gas, you’ll remain conscious during the procedure, but you may find that time passes quickly and you don’t remember much about it. You won’t feel any pain or discomfort.
Because laughing gas wears off almost immediately, you can drive home after your dental procedure.
Many dentists who practice gentle dentistry will incorporate laughing gas into any procedure that needs a local anesthetic. They also use it for any patient who has extreme dental anxiety, as well as patients who have special needs.
What is gentle dentistry? If you have dental anxiety, learn more to see if it’s right for you.
- Intravenous Sedation
Intravenous sedation (or IV sedation) is less common than laughing gas and local anesthetic. It’s for patients who have extreme anxiety surrounding dental procedures who may not feel comfortable with laughing gas, who can’t stand the anxiety of the needle, or who need an extra boost.
The patient gets an IV in their arm. Through the IV, the dentist administers an anti-anxiety medication. The patient may not remember the dental procedure at all.
For this type of sedation, it’s important that the patient has someone to drive them home.
Dental Pain Management Is Better Than Ever
With so many options for dental pain management, you don’t have to be afraid to go to the dentist for your fillings or root canals. All procedures will include some discomfort during the healing process, but with the right pain management techniques, you won’t be in serious pain.
Talk to your dentist about your concerns and ask about your pain management options.
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