Anesthesia & Anxiety Control

Do you ever get nervous just thinking about going to the dentist? If you’re tense or anxious, let us know before your appointment. Getting your concerns out in the open will help us adapt the treatment to your needs.

Try to choose a time for your dental visit when you’re less likely to be rushed or under pressure. If the sound of the drill bothers you, bring a portable audio player and headset so you can listen to your favorite music. If you’d like to take a mild sedative before your appointment or if you prefer to be asleep during your treatment please let us know.

What should every patient know about dental anesthesia?

Advances in medications, dental anesthetics and anesthesia techniques can greatly reduce even eliminate discomfort during dental treatment. The following explains options available to help alleviate anxiety or pain that may be associated with dental care.

What is local anesthesia?

Topical anesthetics are applied to mouth tissues with a swab to prevent pain on the surface level in preparation for administering an injectable local anesthetic.

Injectable local anesthetics, such as Lidocaine, prevent pain in a specific area of your mouth during treatment by blocking the nerves that sense or transmit pain and numbing mouth tissues. They cause the temporary numbness often referred to as a “fat lip” feeling. There are several types of local anesthetics, allowing us to select the one most suited to your needs. Local anesthetics are always used in endodontic procedures.

What is conscious sedation?

Anti-anxiety agents may help you relax during dental visits and are used along with local anesthetics. Dentists also can use these agents to induce “conscious sedation,” in which the patient achieves a relaxed state during treatment while remaining responsive. Sedatives are usually taken by mouth before dental procedures.

What is intravenous sedation?

When patients have high levels of anxiety or when they simply want the maximum level of comfort during their treatment, we able to provide “sleep dentistry.” Intravenous anesthetics produce a deeper level of sedation that eliminates all anxiety and sensation. There the patient retains normal body functions, and the recovery time is relatively short.

This method of deep sedation or general anesthesia is administered in our office by a board certified anesthesiologist, and may be recommended in certain procedures for patients with severe anxiety or a history of resistance to local anesthetics, small children, or for those who prefer ultimate comfort.

Putting it all together

Dentists use the pain and anxiety control techniques mentioned above to treat tens of millions of patients safely every year. Even so, taking any medication involves a certain amount of risk. That’s why we urge you to take an active role in your oral health care. This includes knowing your health status and telling us about any illnesses or health conditions, whether you are taking any medications (prescription or non-prescription), and whether you’ve ever had any problems such as allergic reactions to any medications. It also includes understanding the risks and benefits involved in dental treatment, so that together with you we can make the best decisions about the treatment that is right for you.

Understanding the range of choices that are available to relieve anxiety and discomfort makes you a well-informed dental consumer. If you have questions or concerns about your oral health care, don’t hesitate to call us. If you still have concerns, consider getting a second opinion. Working together with you, we can choose the appropriate steps to make your endodontic treatment as safe and comfortable as possible.