For years dentists have been advertising “painless dentistry” and “pain free dental care” but most dental patients believe that almost any dental procedure will involve some amount of pain or discomfort. Some patients are so fearful of pain during dental care that they avoid going to the dentist completely. The irony is that because they avoid going to the dentist at all costs, these unfortunate people usually end up with dental problems that are far more painful than any dental treatment.
So the question is whether painless dentistry is even possible. The answer is that not only is painless dentistry possible, it should be the norm. Today’s dentist has a wide array of techniques at their disposal to make any dental procedure virtually pain free.
With the proper technique, injectable anesthetics should completely numb the area to be worked on. Most people experience some pain and discomfort with the injection itself, but done properly and patiently the injection should be painless too. Pain from the injection of the anesthetic can be minimized or eliminated by applying a topical anesthetic prior to the injection and injecting the anesthetic slowly.
For particularly sensitive or anxious patients, sedation dentistry can provide a level of sedation to match the patient’s anxiety level. Sedation dentistry not only relaxes patients, but it also provides an additional pain numbing effect. Also, most patients who receive dental care under conscious sedation have little or no memory of the procedure, further reducing any perception of pain.
Some dental procedures will result in a brief period of post-operative pain and discomfort. Your dentist can prescribe oral medication to manage the pain or you may be able to control it with over the counter painkillers. For the best effect, be sure to start taking your medication before the numbness wears off.
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