Dental Pain Relief12 Nov, 2015
Dental Pain Relief
Dental pain relief relates to a variety of situations, such as relief of a toothache or relief of chronic pain that may come from bruxism, or teeth grinding. The type of relief that a dentist and patient will choose all depend upon where the pain is coming from.
Primarily, as most patients realize, it's a matter of a local anesthetic to reduce or mask pain. A large number of anaesthetics are available to dentists. Often dentists use the generic term "novocaine" to refer to all the different types of local injectable anesthetics, so many fall under this heading.
Some people, however, are refractory, which means they do not get numb with those injectable anesthetics. That is usually either due to the thickness of bone if we need to infiltrate it, or because a patient has a tooth that is very inflamed, which means there is a higher acidity balance in the tooth. So the anesthetic has less of a chance of working. Another scenario is that the nerve can be inflamed, and blood supply and nerves are more sensitive to become anesthetized.
Other techniques to minimize dental pain include:
Inter-ligamentary injections: That means there is perforation through the bone to deposit the anesthetic right where the nerve enters. These procedures are generally painless: Superficial structures cannot become numb to deliver other forms of anesthesia, so it hits right where the actual nerve is.
Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide. That has the effect of making the person feel more relaxed, and it also has an amnesiac effect. People do not remember all the details of the procedure and often that makes it easier for them.
Oral conscious sedation, or OCS. That is where we use a medication given during the procedure and before it to produce what we call a "twilight state" in the patient. The patient is awake but he feels relaxed, reducing the feeling of pain and the anxiety that can accompany dental work.
Sedation is endorsed by the American Dental Association and is an effective way to make many patients comfortable during their dental visit. Patients with dental phobia, low pain tolerance, major dental treatment, physical disabilities or strong gag reflexes may require sedation. Procedures like fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, extractions, cosmetic procedures and periodontal treatments often require sedation as well.
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.
Jerry Massimei is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find an extremely informative Guide to Restorative Dentistry or more Health Care articles at the Yodle Consumer Guide, The Yodler.