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Sedation Dentistry and Local Anesthetics: Ensuring a pain-free trip to the dentist

We all know at least one person who avoids going to the dentist. According to, more than 75% of adults experience dental anxiety. And about 5-10% of adults are dental-phobic. But, you can rely on sedation dentistry and local anesthetics for pain-free dental treatments. So, you don't have to skip your dental visits due to anxiety or fear of dental pain.

Are dentist visits painful?

No, they are not! During a dental visit, your dentist will examine and assess your oral health. They'll also conduct oral check-ups using x-rays to look for cavities, use special instruments such as Velscope, plaque, and tartar. These routine dental procedures are not painful.

Patients with gum disease or tooth decay can experience mild pain daily. The pain is related to the underlying dental problem. Skipping routine check-ups increases the risk of developing periodontitis and dental pain. To avoid painful experiences, visit your dentist regularly for preventative dental care.

The idea that going to the dentist will lead to pain is a myth handed down since the Dark Ages. Modern dental technologies have been helping dentists deliver pain-free dentistry. Also, your Toronto dentist can use medications for quick mental relief or induce oral or deep sedation when it comes to dental anxiety.

How do dentists deal with pain?

Innovative clinics like Toronto Smile Design leverages sedation dentistry and local anesthetic to provide pain-free and stress-free dental treatments.

So, how do sedation dentistry and local anesthetics ensure your trip to the dentist is pain and stress-free?

Local Anesthetic: Your dentist will apply a topical anesthetic on your gums using a swab to numb the site. Then, they'll inject a local anesthetic around the area being treated. This type of anesthesia technique only targets a specific part of the body. It is ideal for managing dental pain during routine dental treatments such as root canals and wisdom tooth extraction.

Nitrous Oxide: This laughing gas is one of the most common types of sedation used in dentistry. You inhale the gas through a rubber face mask to ensure a stress-free experience. It induces mild to moderate sedation to help you feel relaxed and comfortable on the dental chair. Then, your dentist can increase the gas flow to attain higher levels of sedation. Nitrous oxide is ideal for less invasive dental procedures and wears off quickly with no side effects.

IV Sedation: With intravenous sedation, your dentist injects a sedative into a vein on your arm. Unlike nitrous oxide, IV sedation goes directly into the bloodstream. So, it is fast-acting and longer-lasting than nitrous oxide. IV sedation is ideal for managing anxiety during extensive dental procedures.

Oral Sedation: This type of sedation uses oral medication to guarantee an anxiety-free procedure. Oral sedatives work on the central nervous system. They take about 30 minutes to induce sedation and relaxation. But oral sedation has side effects, including drowsiness that lasts for hours.

General anesthesia: General Anesthesia technique puts you to sleep. So, you'll be unconscious throughout the procedure. General anesthesia can lower your blood pressure and lead to irregular heartbeats. In addition, it requires constant and intensive monitoring to mitigate risks and side effects. For these reasons, dentists only use general anesthesia for extensive oral surgeries and dental work with a General Anesthetist Specialist.

Dentists require a permit to administer anesthesia. If you're worried about dental pain, you shouldn't because every dentist can provide local anesthetics to numb the area of concern. However, if you are concerned about dental anxiety, choose a dentist licenced in sedation dentistry.

How can I calm my nerves before going to the dentist?

Sedation dentistry is the most effective way to induce relaxation. Staying calm can be a challenge if your mind is overanalyzing the impending dental visit. If you love music, listen to your favourite tune to distract your mind and calm your nerves. Several studies indicate that relaxation techniques such as guided imagery can help reduce stress and anxiety. You can also practice deep breathing or get a massage or acupuncture to promote mental and physical relaxation. Sometimes, you only need to talk to a friend or family member to stop your mind from spiralling deeper into dental anxiety.

Can the dentist give you something for anxiety?

Suppose they are licenced for sedation; yes, they can provide additional medication to prevent dental anxiety! Modern dentistry offers more than general anesthesia. Today, dentists can induce different levels of sedation using medicine to reduce dental anxiety. Your dentist can give you drugs an hour before the procedure. Conscious sedation using nitrous oxide can also calm your nerves and relieve dental stress. Make sure your dentist understands your medical history and prescribed medications. Taking diazepam with opiate drugs increases the risk of allergic reactions. For example, using excessive diazepam and codeine for pain relief can lead to life-threatening breathing problems. To avoid complications, provide your dentist with a list of all the medications you're taking.

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