Dental Anesthesia 1

Dental Anesthesia

Just as some oral health issues can cause discomfort in the mouth, so too can some dental treatments cause discomfort in the mouth. All dental professionals encourage their patients to take excellent care of their oral health so as to avoid any undesirable issues, and they all work very hard to provide high-quality dental treatments that cause very little, if any, discomfort. Unfortunately, there are some oral health issues that do require more aggressive treatment, which means that there is a possibility the patient will experience pain. That said, dental anesthesia can be used effectively to help the patient have a more comfortable, relaxed experience even when they are undergoing more aggressive treatment. Not only can dental anesthesia work to control any pain the individual may experience, it can help to reduce the stress related to the treatment experience.

Finding the Right Type of Dental Anesthesia

There are several different types of dental anesthesia and each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. When determining what type of dental anesthesia is appropriate for a specific patient, the dentist will consider the type of procedure to be performed, the individual’s overall health, any allergies the individual has and what the individual’s anxiety level is. This will help the dentist to better understand the patient’s specific needs and then recommend a type of anesthesia that will best meet these needs.

One of the most common types of dental anesthesia is local anesthesia. This is used to block the nerves that communicate pain in a specific area of the mouth so that this area can be worked on without causing the patient great discomfort. Local anesthesia will numb the tissues in the area of the mouth it is administered to for a brief period of time–usually a few hours. Dentists who administer local anesthesia often caution their patients to be careful after leaving the office, because it is possible that one can bite down on and cause damage to their inner cheeks or lips without realizing it due the area being numb. Local anesthesia is often used for dental treatments like filling cavities, preparing teeth for crowns or treating gum disease.

There are two kinds of local anesthesia injections–the block injection and the infiltration injection. With the block injection an entire region of the mouth, like one side of the entire lower jaw, is numbed. With the infiltration injection a smaller area of the mouth is numbed. In either case, the dentist will first prepare the area by drying it with air or cotton. When the injection itself is administered, some patients feel a sting as the anesthetic moves into and numbs the tissue.

Another common type of dental anesthesia is topical anesthesia. This can be used to soothe painful sores that are in the mouth, and it is also often used to numb an area that will receive a local anesthesia injection. A far less common type of dental anesthesia is general anesthesia, which causes a temporary loss of consciousness. General anesthesia is usually only recommended when significant dental treatment or surgery is needed, such as in the removal of all four impacted wisdom teeth, and when the dentist determines that it is best because the individual will be more relaxed and comfortable during their treatment.

Understanding the Risks

The entire purpose of any type of dental anesthesia is, of course, to allow dental treatment to occur with as little trauma for the patient as possible. Dental anesthesia is used safely on millions of individuals every year without problem, and yet it is still important to understand that these medications carry with them some degree of risk. Patients who become deeply involved in their dental care and work closely with their dentist to understand the different types of treatment available to them, as well as the risks and benefits of these treatments, are better able to make the best decisions to protect or restore their dental health in as comfortable a way as possible.


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