Is getting dental work painful?
Nowadays, the anesthetics, you know we talk about technology improving. Some of the anesthetics now that we can use, the stuff that we get you numb with, it’s not the same stuff that people think of in the past. We have very powerful anesthetics, we have topical gels, we have mouth rinses now, a person can rinse with a mouth rinse and their mouth will get numb. There’s a lot of different things, my two hygienists will generally use a lot of topical gel on the gum tissues and on the teeth that will numb the area where they’re cleaning so the person doesn’t even feel anything. So that really plays a role in helping a person not have as much discomfort during the procedure. I did have a patient once that was pretty difficult, we were starting a procedure, luckily we hadn’t done a lot of, this was a patient where we had decided we were gonna do this with baby steps. So we were doing the first restorative appointment where she needed some fillings, so we went in, for the last thing we were gonna do some fillings for her, and she didn’t seem like she was getting sedated. So we tried a couple other things and it still didn’t, so we just decided to stop the procedure that day, which was a bummer for her a little bit, and what I had found was she had eaten too much during the day and it had affected her system so she wasn’t metabolizing my medication that I had given her very well. Because what we had done, as I went back, as I was troubleshooting, trying to figure out, well why didn’t this person get sedated the way we would, and when I put two and two together I realized what had happened. So we were able to reschedule that and change that procedure, and the next time she came in she actually was snoring. That was a good thing, and it was the same medication, but we had just changed when we were gonna do the appointment, and it worked out great and she was able to get the work she needed done and fixed.
When you have less discomfort during a procedure, the general rule of thumb is you’re going to have less discomfort afterwards. That’s, again, why when you do something with sedation, oral conscious sedation, and there’s not a memory of the procedure too, and you’re using these profound anesthetics, people have a tendency to heal quicker. We will also prescribe, generally a lot of times, medications to take at the same time of the procedure or right after, that helps people transition off their anesthetic, so while they’re still numb they don’t all of a sudden the numbness wears off and they’re in a great deal of discomfort, but actually just smooth transition, so that they don’t have a lot of pain afterwards. And the key is to finding out what works for an individual, because a lot of times with our discussion, when I’m getting to know the patient they’ll say, “Oh doc, by the way, I have a hard time getting numb.” And I’ll say, “Well when was that last time?” And we’ll have a discussion about this because that clues me in, oh maybe we need to switch over to this type of medication, or this type of anesthetic that would work better for them in that procedure.