Controlling Pain in Dentistry
From toothache indicating an oral problem to soreness after receiving dental treatment, pain is simply a part of dentistry and unfortunately it cannot be avoided. If you’ve suffered from toothache, you won’t be surprised to find it is considered one of the most debilitating forms of pain in the body. Therefore, it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that dentists have been leaders in developing both local and general anesthetics.
Should I feel pain during dental therapy?
For reasons unknown, there are those that believe it is necessary to feel pain during dental procedures. This is absolutely not true. In fact, your dentist will want to minimize your pain as much a possible and ensure you are completely comfortable during treatment.
The misheld belief that pain is necessary during dental treatment has caused countless people to avoid seeking oral therapy for their dental issues. Thanks to developments in pain relief, the majority of modern dental therapies should be almost painless.
What forms of pain relief are available?
There are many methods to relieve the pain caused by dental issues and during and after oral therapy. The type used will depend on many factors, such as the patient’s pain threshold (their sensitivity to pain) and the type of treatment they are undergoing.
- Local Anesthetics – for numbing the area to be treated
- Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) – to make a patient feel relaxed and comfortable during treatment
- Intravenous (IV) Sedation – used when procedures are likely to be more painful or stressful
- General Anesthetics – for putting patients to sleep before a major treatment or operation
- Hypnosis – an alternative form of pain relief
- Electrical Anesthesia – Needleless pain relief suitable for many minor oral procedures
Each form of pain relief has its own merits based on the patient’s tolerance to pain, their comfort during dental procedures, and the type of procedure being completed. For example, during a filling, one patient may have a high pain threshold and simply require a mild local anesthetic. Another patient may have a lower pain threshold and also suffer from extreme dentophobia (the fear of receiving dental treatment) and would also benefit from Nitrous Oxide to help them feel more at ease during their treatment.
How do I know which form of pain relief is best for me?
Speaking to your dentist before undergoing a dental procedure will allow them to determine your pain threshold and determine the most suitable form of pain relief for you. You probably already know your tolerance to pain, so informing your dentist will help them plan your anesthesia needs.