Why dental fear?
Nearly half of all Americans have some degree of dental fear according to The American Dental Association.
At One Stop Dentistry we have successfully treated countless individuals with dental anxiety. First, we begin by interviewing our guests about how their fear of dentistry started. Yes, pain during previous dental procedures is the answer we commonly hear. It happens that some people have felt pain during treatment due to lack of profound or complete anesthesia. Most of these types of experiences start during childhood. How is it that sometimes a person is not fully anesthetized? In this article we will cover some reasons for not getting fully numb for dental treatment.
In general, when a person has a severe toothache more nerves are firing more frequently due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. At this stage, it takes a whole lot more anesthetic to get numb. In fact, we may reach the maximum allowed dosage of anesthetic and the person is still not fully numb. Infection is another interference which can reduce the action of local anesthetics. In situations where a major abscess is present, the acidity of the infected environment prevents the full effects of local anesthetics from being reached. Here is yet another cause of incomplete anesthesia: Some people have extra (accessory) and anatomically unusual nerve branches. In such cases, local anesthetics don’t reach all of the additional nerve endings if the injections are only administered at routine sites. Knowing and recognizing these cases and giving injections in the right places is essential for obtaining complete anesthesia. Skilled dentists know where these extra nerves are usually located and numb them at the first indication of their presence.
It is accepted that getting a shot anywhere in the body may not be pleasant and the mouth is no exception. As we discussed above, one injection may not be enough to achieve full numbness. Since getting an injection is painful to some degree, a person may attempt to avoid additional injections by trying to “tough it out.” This is exactly “what not to do.” One good property of local anesthetics is that they numb the area of the first injection, so a person will not feel the additional injections. Thus, if needed the patient should ask their dentist to give them more injection(s) to obtain full anesthesia and not less.
Since we are on the subject of dental pain and anesthesia, I would like to bring up another pointer which is very helpful for understanding dental pain. During our routine clinical and x-ray examinations we discover lots of dead teeth which we scientifically refer to as ‘necrosed.’ These teeth must be treated endodontically (also known as root canal treatment). When we tell our patients they need a root canal treatment, they reply: “but I don’t have any pain”. Well, they are right in that they don’t have any pain at the moment because the tooth’s nerve is dead. When the nerve of a tooth is dead, one could safely conclude that the entire anatomy of the tooth is dead. This means the tooth is not getting any blood supply. In return, no blood supply
means no immune capability which means the tooth will inevitably become infected and abscessed. Therefore, root canal treatment can prevent infection in a dead tooth.
In conclusion, please visit your dentist regularly and be a “cavity – preventing oriented person.” Like I always say, zero operational dentistry is the best. In other words, if you don’t get a cavity you won’t have to get numbed.