Local Anesthetic & Pain Free Dental Treatment
We are so accustomed to local anesthetic that we take it for granted it is nothing extraordinary not to feel anything during dental treatment. When we encounter a patient who is either scared or does not like anesthetic, we always have to remind them how fortunate they are to be able to get numb. This was not an option 150 years ago. Can you imagine having a tooth removed with no anesthetic?!
Dentistry would not quite be possible without local anesthesia. The most common type of local anesthetic used is called lidocaine. It works by blocking nerve impulse activity at the site it is deposited. Topical gels can be used in conjunction with injection to minimize the initial pinch. Also, slow injection does help to minimize the discomfort. Most patients believe it is the needle that hurts. The initial pinch is indeed caused by the needle. However, as you deposit the anesthetic, the pressure builds up within the tissue that leads to discomfort. Slow injection will minimize the sudden change of pressure, thus, leading to a more comfortable or pain free injection.
Many patients ar e also concerned about how long the numbness will last. It depends what type of anesthetic is utilized and which part of the mouth was injected. Generally speaking the higher the amount of epinephrine the longer the effects with last. As a rule of thumb you could expect to remain numb for 2-3 hours. Not too long ago a new product was introduced to the market that is supposed to cut the lingering effects in half. However, these are still relatively expensive for the very little benefit they provide. Most patients do not find it worthwhile to pay for it just so the numbness is reduced by an hour.
If you would like to obtain more information on pain free dentistry, please contact us to schedule an appointment.