I’m not sure what to do. My dentist gave me six injections in the same area trying to get me numb and it just wouldn’t work. I am in desperate need of a root canal treatment and am living on prescription pain killers which are really strong and addictive. They also make me a tad sleepy. Help me! Have you encountered this with any of your patients?
I think I know exactly what is going on here. It is very likely you are suffering from a level of dental anxiety. Some patients face this every time they are in the dental chair. For others, it may be the thought of a procedure which is giving them the jitters.
The problem this causes is with your metabolism. Anxiety raises your metabolism and other bodily functions, which in turn burns off the medication more quickly making it less effective. This is very likely why you are having trouble getting numb. If we can help with the anxiety, you’ll have no issues getting numb. Fortunately, there is a solution.
The Cure for Dental Anxiety
I’m going to suggest you see a dentist who is used to working with patients suffering from anxiety. These dentists often offer varying levels of dental sedation. I’ll tell you about the two most commonly offered and give you their pros and cons. You can decide which level will best suit your level of anxiety.
This is a simple nosepiece which you will use to breathe in the nitrous oxide. It is sometimes dubbed laughing gas, not because it makes you giggle, but it does give you a relaxed, floaty feeling. This eases your anxiety enough to allow your numbing medicine to take effect. It has the additional benefit of no long term effects. Once your procedure is over, the dentist will simply switch your gas to pure oxygen and you can get on with your day as normal.
Oral Conscious Sedation
This is for patients for more severe anxiety. You and your dentist will have to go over all medications you are currently taking to ensure there are no medicines which will interfere with one another. After that, it is a simple matter of you taking a pill the morning of your appointment. This is a super strong medication. As a result, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. You’ll still be groggy, so you’ll want them to stay with you until you are lucid again. Though, no matter how strong your anxiety, this will relax you. In fact, most patients sleep through their entire appointment.
This blog is brought to you by Huntsville Dentist Dr. Steve Murphree.