For most patients who are nervous about an upcoming dental procedure, the procedure itself is just one aspect that’s worrying. The prospect of anesthesia, whether local or general, can be pretty scary too. Not to worry—there is nothing to be afraid of. Here’s everything to know about dental anesthesia from a Charleston dental office.
When Dentists Use Anesthesia
You might think that dentists only use anesthesia for risky or especially complicated procedures. The truth is, dental anesthesia is totally routine, used for all kinds of everyday procedures. Just because you have to have anesthesia for a dental procedure doesn’t mean there’s something seriously wrong with your teeth, so there’s no need to worry about that aspect. Dentists use different three basic types of anesthetics: topical, local, and general. We’ll discuss each option in detail below.
Topical anesthesia numbs the surface of a tissue. It’s commonly referred to as numbing gel or numbing jelly, and it’s usually applied with a cotton swab to the inside of the mouth. Many of our patients say it tastes like pineapple. The topical anesthesia sits on the tissue for a few minutes, and then the cheek or gums are injected with local anesthesia. Since topical anesthesia doesn’t reach the nerves, it basically helps to numb the prick of the needle as it enters the tissues.
Local anesthesia is commonly referred to as Novocaine, although most dentists actually use Lidocaine or Articaine, which provoke much fewer allergic reactions. Local anesthesia temporarily deactivates the nerves in a specific part of the mouth so that the patient does not feel pain during a dental procedure. Along with the anesthetic itself, injections often include a small amount of epinephrine (which your body already makes for itself in larger quantities) to constrict the blood vessels around the injection site and help the anesthetic work effectively and last longer.
General Anesthesia (Sedation Dentistry)
General anesthesia is generally used in extreme oral surgery, such as wisdom teeth removal. It is also frequently used for children who would twitch or panic during an invasive procedure, such as a root canal. Intravenous sedatives can put you in varying stages of consciousness, not necessarily complete unconsciousness. Some IV drugs can put you into a “twilight sleep” in which you’re less aware of your surroundings, and you might not remember much of the procedure once it’s over.
Looking for a Charleston SC dentist? Call Lowcountry Dental Arts
Hopefully, this article helped you feel a little more secure about your upcoming dental appointment. If you are still worried, you can always ask the experts at Lowcountry Dental Arts about any concerns you may have. Our Charleston SC dentist office is dedicated to helping you have the most relaxing, comfortable dentistry experience possible. To schedule an appointment with us, click here.