I need some help. I’ve been to the dentist three different times for an attempted tooth extraction. Each time, he’s given me up to seven shots of anesthetic and I just can’t seem to go numb. I’m in agony with this infected tooth and I’m worried it will only get worse. Have you encountered this before? My dentist can’t figure out why this is happening as he’s never encountered it.
I think I can help you. Many dentists don’t yet recognize the connection between anxiety and Novocain. It is completely normal to be anxious in the dental chair. For some patients, however, that anxiety severely kicks up their metabolism burning off their numbing medication. Once that happens once, it becomes even harder to get numb the next time because of the previous experience.
Fortunately, there is a solution.
What you need is to see a sedation dentist for this tooth extraction. There are generally three levels of dental sedation. The lightest level is nitrous oxide. This is sometimes called laughing gas. It gives you a relaxed floaty feel. It’s biggest benefit is that once your procedure is done, your dentist will switch the gas from nitrous to oxygen and in just a few moments you are back to normal and able to get on with your day. This is most effective for patients with mild dental anxiety.
The next level of dental sedation is called oral conscious sedation. This is for patients with more severe anxiety. It is a simple pill you will take before your appointment. This will completely relax you. In fact, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment, as well as stay with you for several hours afterward until you are lucid. This is he sedation I think you’ll be best served by using.
The third level is I.V. sedation. Very few dentists do this level, though Dr. Cha does.
What Should I Look for in a Sedation Dentist?
While sedation is very safe, you still want to find a dentist who has invested in special training for it. For instance, Dr. Cha is both DOCS and ACLS certified so you know he has invested training in all sedation procedures as well as emergency protocols. That is really what you want to look for.
I’m assuming your tooth is too far gone for a root canal treatment or your dentist would have suggested that, but I always feel it is best to save a tooth if at all possible. Once this tooth is extracted you will need to replace it. Don’t wait too long or your other teeth will shift or tip into its place. Talk to your dentist about all your tooth replacement options, but I’d look strongly at getting a dental implant.
This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Dentist Dr. Jerome Cha.