By: J. Shahangian, DDS, MS- San Diego Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
Numbing Your Mouth
I will use an anesthetic to numb your child’s mouth to pull out a tooth, or to take out a cavity.
I will rub a cotton ball dipped in a “local anesthetic” on your child’s gums on the area where I will be operating. The local anesthetic will numb the surface of the mouth and gums. Sometimes, I may need to apply more local anesthesia, and may have to give your child a small injection of more powerful medicine to really numb the area of the mouth. The shot may sting a little, but it is only because the local anesthetic that was rubbed on.
The more powerful anesthetic is called Lidocaine or Novocain. I may inject this anesthetic with a very fine needle. In about two minutes, your child’s mouth will feel slightly tingly, and eventually will go numb. Your child may experience a feeling of having a swollen or fat lip and mouth, but this is just a side effect of the anesthetic.
The rapid advancements in dentistry have almost made pain a thing of the past.
Powerful anesthetics alleviate patients of discomfort during the dental procedures and also post-operation.
Dosages of anesthetics vary from person to person, with some people requiring higher doses than others.
List of pain-killing medications:
- Analgesics – These pain killers are the common over the counter medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Analgesics are prescribed after tooth extractions or root canals because they alleviate mild pain and discomfort.
- Anesthetics – Anesthetics are used to numb the area where I will operate. There are two main types of anesthetics: topical or injected. Topical anesthetics are dipped in a cotton swab and are placed on the area where I will operate. I usually use topical anesthetics. I may also inject an anesthetic such as Lidocaine or Novocain. The injections numb the nerves and prevent the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
- Sedatives – Sedatives are powerful relaxants that block pain. There are two main types of sedatives. One type of sedation is using nitrous oxide which is commonly known as laughing gas. During this type of sedation, the patient is awake and alert. On the other hand, the second type of anesthesia places the patient in a state of unconsciousness. The patient is monitored during this time
Types of sedatives include:
- Inhalation is a type of sedation where a mask is placed over the face (such as nitrous oxide)
- Intravenous (IV) sedation is a type of sedation where a small needle gives the patient a tranquilizer. The patient is awake during this type of sedation.
Here is a quick list for alleviation oral pain
- Do not sleep on your back
- Use ice pack on the site of pain
- Do not eat candy and avoid ice
Here is a quick list of tools for pain management:
- Analgesics such as ibuprofen and aspirin
- Anesthetics such as Lidocaine and Novocain
- Sedation which can mean “conscious sedation” or deep sedation (also known as general sedation)
I may prescribe medications to prevent infection or to alleviate discomfort and pain after an operation. I may do this for more invasive procedures such as oral surgery or teeth extractions.
It is important to share your child’s medical history because some of the medications that I prescribe could conflict with medications that your child may be taking.
Lastly, make sure to carefully follow all the instructions for the medications that I prescribe. Even if your child is feeling better, finish all of the instructed medication.
Some dental procedures, such as tooth extractions and oral surgery, may call for our office to prescribe medications before or after a procedure. These medications are used to prevent or fight an infection, or to relieve any post-operative discomfort and pain.
For these reasons, it is extremely important that you share your entire medical history – including any medications you are currently taking – with our office. Some medications used in dentistry, and other medical practices – could interact with those medications in a detrimental way. In addition, if you have any allergic reactions to certain medications, it is important for our office to know beforehand.
Finally, if you are prescribed any medication by our office, follow the dosage instructions very carefully, and if instructed, finish your entire prescription even if you are no longer feeling pain.
Many people associate the high-pitched whirring of a dental drill with pain. Just the sound alone can make many people wince.
A relatively new technique called air abrasion uses powerful particles of aluminum oxide to remove debris and decay. The most exciting thing for patients is that air abrasion is painless and, in some cases, doesn’t require an anesthetic.
Air abrasion leaves behind a gritty feeling in your mouth, which is simply rinsed away almost instantaneously using a small suction device.
Tiny cracks and imperfections on a tooth can be fixed using air abrasion. Although air abrasion is not suitable for work on crowns and bridges, it is often used for bonding procedures, and on tooth restorations involving composite, or tooth-colored fillings.
Dentistry has advanced to the point in which pain is almost a thing of the past.
Powerful pain-killing medications known as anesthetics not only help a patient avoid discomfort during a procedure, but post-operatively as well.
Some patients, especially children, may require higher doses of anesthetic than others.
Types of pain-killing medications include:
Analgesics – These are also called pain relievers and include common non-narcotic medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Analgesics are usually used for mild cases of discomfort, and are typically prescribed following such procedures as a root canal or tooth extraction.
Anesthetics – Anesthetics can either be topically applied, injected or swallowed. Dentists often apply topical anesthetics with a cotton swab to an area of the mouth where a procedure such as a restoration will be performed. This numbs the affected area. Topical anesthetics are used in many dental procedures such as tooth restoration. Topical anesthetics also are used to prepare an area for injection of an anesthetic. Novocaine and Lidocaine are the most common kind of injectable anesthetics. Such medications block the nerves from transmitting signals and are used for more major types of procedures, such as fillings and root canals.
Sedatives – Sedatives are medications designed to help a patient relax. This can be a powerful tool in avoiding pain. Sedatives are sometimes used in combination with other types of pain relievers and pain-killers. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a form of sedative. Conscious sedation involves administering a sedative while the patient is alert and awake. Deep sedation or general anesthesia involves administering a medication that places a patient in a state of monitored and controlled unconsciousness.
Types of sedatives include:
Intravenous (IV) sedation – Usually in the form of a tranquilizing agent); patients given IV sedation are often awake, but very relaxed.
Inhalation sedation – a form of sedation in which a medication (such as nitrous oxide) is administered through a special mask.
There are many methods for relieving oral pain. They include:
Ice packs on the affected area.
Avoiding hard candy or ice.
Avoiding sleeping on your stomach.
Dentists use a wide array of pain management tools, including:
Anesthetics such as Novocaine.
Analgesics such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Sedatives, including a procedure known as “conscious sedation” or general sedation (also known as “deep sedation”).
Pain can occur in any number of places in your mouth: teeth, gums, roots, the palate, tongue and jaw.
Cavities are a common culprit causing pain. Untreated cavities can impact nerves because of infections of the tooth and gums. Impacted and abscessed teeth and sore jaws from teeth grinding are other common causes of pain.
Improper bite relationships and jaw disorders can also cause pain. Other sources of pain include sleep disorders, and headaches and neck aches.
Special splints can sometimes be applied to stabilize a bite. Bites can also be corrected with special orthodontic procedures, appliances and restoration techniques.
The dentist uses special medicine called anesthetics to numb your mouth if you have a cavity taken out or a tooth pulled.
The first thing the dentist does is place a small cotton swab dipped in medicine in your mouth, and rubs in the area he needs to operate on. This medicine is called a “local anesthetic,” and it numbs the surface of your mouth, or your gums. Sometimes, the dentist may need to give you a shot of more powerful medicine to really put your mouth to sleep. But the shot only stings a little bit because of the other medicine he used on the cotton swab!
This more powerful medicine is usually called Novocain or Lidocaine. The medicine is injected into the inside of your mouth using a very small needle. After a few minutes, a part of your mouth gets tingly, and then numb. Some people feel like they have a fat lip when their mouth has been numbed. Don’t worry. Your lip doesn’t get fat or swell. This goes away after a while.
Most of the time, it doesn’t hurt at all to go to the dentist.
Visiting the dentist is not an unpleasant experience for most children. If you keep your teeth healthy by brushing and flossing every day, chances are better that you’ll only need to see the dentist to have them cleaned.
Dentists today have all kinds of tools to help you have a fun and pleasant experience while you are having a checkup, or teeth cleaning, or something like a cavity filled. If you need to have a cavity taken out, a filling, or if you have really sensitive teeth (when you drink really hot or cold drinks, it hurts your teeth), the dentist will give you medicine that numbs your mouth and gums. That way, when he puts instruments in your mouth to operate, it won’t hurt!