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 may require higher doses of anesthetic than others. The response to local anesthetic is an individual one and we customize anesthetic regimens to each patient.
Types of pain-killing medications include:
- Analgesics - These are also called pain relievers and include over the counter non-narcotic medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin, as well as narcotic prescription medications. Analgesics are usually used for mild cases of discomfort, and are typically prescribed following such procedures as a root canal, tooth extraction, or for significant dental pain.
- Anesthetics - Anesthetics can either be topically applied or injected. 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. They are used to prepare an area for injection of an anesthetic. Septocaine and Lidocaine are the most common kinds of injectable anesthetics. Such medications block the nerves from transmitting signals and are used for more major types of procedures, such as fillings, root canals and even deep cleaning when needed.
- Sedatives - Sedatives are medications designed to help a patient relax. This can be a powerful tool in treating dental anxiety and improving dental health in fearful patients. 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.
Types of sedatives include:
- Intravenous (IV) sedation - Usually in the form of a tranquilizing agent); patients given IV sedation are conscious, but very relaxed. In most patients, a deep sleep-like state ensues and patients have little or no memory of the dental visit. However, special instructions must be followed and a consultation is required.
- Inhalation sedation - a form of sedation in which a medication (such as nitrous oxide) is administered through a special mask. Patients can expect to feel much more relaxed, sleepy, and sometimes giggly. It is very safe for all ages and no driver is needed.