Pain Free Dentistry 

Introduction

Your comfort and safety are among your dentist’s top concerns.  There are several options for pain-free dentistry.  Your dentist is happy to discuss and use the most appropriate method for you.  Knowing that your visit will be pain-free can help you relax and ease any fear about going to the dentist.

Some dental procedures, such as fillings, tooth extraction, and restoration procedures, affect the nerves that cause pain.  For these procedures, your dentist administers short-term pain relieving medication (anesthetics) before the treatment even begins.  They block the pain during your procedure. 

Your dentist may administer sedation medication for longer procedures, including dental surgery and wisdom tooth extraction.  Sedation dentistry makes you feel very relaxed during the procedure.  It is especially helpful if you have anxiety.  Sedation dentistry is also used for people with physical disabilities that have uncontrollable movement disorders.

Your dentist can provide “conscious sedation” or general anesthesia.  Conscious sedation uses medications that allow you to be very relaxed, yet awake and responsive.  General anesthesia creates a deep sleep-like state.  

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Symptoms
Your dentist will administer pain-relieving medications for any procedure that affects the nerves of your teeth and gums.  This can include procedures for tooth extraction, tooth restoration, and gum treatments.  In some cases, pain relievers may be necessary during teeth cleaning.
 
It is very common for some people to have a general fear of going to the dentist.  Others may have anxiety disorders that are heightened during a dental visit.  Your dentist is happy to discuss your concerns and select options that are appropriate for you.

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Diagnosis
Tell your dentist if you or your child experience fear and anxiety before and during dental visits.  Tell your dentist if you have an anxiety disorder.  It is important to tell your dentist what medications you take and what other medical conditions you have.  Inform your doctor of your drug allergies. 
 
It is very important to tell your doctor if you consume alcohol or use illegal street drugs.  It is also very important to tell your doctor if you have experienced a neurological disorder, such as a traumatic brain injury or a stroke.  Your doctor needs to consider all of this information when selecting and dosing the appropriate medication for you.

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Treatment
Short-term pain relievers (local anesthetics) are administered just prior to the dental procedure.  Your dentist will apply a pain relieving medication to your gum before giving you a shot.  Injectable pain relieving medications temporarily numb the area to be treated.  The medication wears off a short time after your procedure is complete.
 
You can receive anti-anxiety or sedative medications before or during your visit.  You will need to have someone else drive you to and from your dentist’s office.  Anti-anxiety or sedative medications are administered as pills, liquids, gases, or injections.  They can be used in conjunction with pain-relieving medications. 

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.