Controlling Pain and Anxiety
Dentistry should be a pleasant and pain-free experience. At Distinctive Dentistry, we work with you to find the pain control method of your choice. Our goal is to alleviate anxiety and stress so that you can get the care you need. At Distinctive Dentistry, we believe that fear should never be more important than your essential dental care.
We offer a variety of methods to numb pain and reduce anxiety, such as local anesthetics, oral sedatives, intravenous moderate sedation, and general anesthesia.
Local anesthetics are numbing injections that block pain in a specific, localized area. One type of local anesthetic is called a “blocker.” Its purpose is to block pain receptors in a specific region of the mouth. The other type of local anesthetic is known as an “infiltration injection,” and can pinpoint the numbing effect to a very small area. Local anesthesia usually lasts several hours.
Lidocaine is the most common local anesthetic. (All of the local anesthetics have names ending in “-caine.”) These injections include ingredients that work synergistically with the primary pain-killing medication, making the numbing agents work more effectively and last longer.
Sedation dentistry may be preferable for people who have anxiety or general fear of dentistry. Sedative medications help patients relax during dental procedures. While most people are familiar with nitrous oxide (laughing gas), there are other forms of sedation dentistry.
- Oral Sedatives
- Oral sedatives are a mild form of sedation; the patient remains awake but relaxed. An hour before the procedure, the dentist will administer a medication such as Halcion, Valium, Ativan, or Xanax to relieve anxiety. These medications affect the part of the brain that regulate fear. Oral sedatives may cause drowsiness and may cause the patient difficulty in recollecting memories of events that occur while the medication is in the system. These types of medications may be contraindicated for those who have certain medical conditions, in which case, one of the other methods may be more appropriate.
- IV Moderate Sedation
- In this method of sedation, the patient receives the sedative intravenously, which works more quickly than orally-administered sedatives. The patient remains conscious, relaxed, and comfortable, although his or her speech may be slurred. Anxiety levels are reduced, and memories of the procedure are minimal. The IV drip allows the dentist to adjust sedation levels during the procedure. This form of sedation tends to wear off quickly after the treatment is over.
- General Anesthesia
- A patient under general anesthesia is either entirely unconscious or nearly unconscious and cannot easily be awakened. The effects of the anesthesia may take several hours to wear off. Occasionally the patient is given a medication to counteract the sedative so that consciousness is regained more quickly.
- The patient must adhere to a strict pre-procedure protocol and generally needs to arrange for a ride home after a procedure which has been performed under general anesthesia.
- Each state’s dental board carefully regulates the use of sedation dentistry and requires dentists to be specifically trained in order to hold the highly technical certifications. Dr. Keith Phillips is board-certified to perform sedation dentistry.
At Distinctive Dentistry, we strive to educate our patients on procedures and pain-control. We will happily work with you to alleviate fears and anxiety and answer all of your questions. We believe that fear and anxiety should never stand in the way of essential dental care. Your smile is a reflection of your confidence; at Distinctive Dentistry, we deliver the utmost care so that you can project your best, most vibrant you!