How Long Does the Local Last?
Generally speaking, you can expect your tooth to be numb for an hour at least, but no more than two hours. Your lips and tongue can remain numb for anywhere from three to five hours, as your bloodstream works to break the anesthetic down, metabolize it and take it away.
What Local Anesthetics Do You Use?
In days gone by, the most common anesthetic was Procaine, also known as Novocaine. Today, the preferred anesthetic is Lidocaine. Mepivicaine, Prilocaine, Articaine and Bipuvicaine may also be used. There is actually very little difference among the “caines,” and the purpose is the same – to numb your mouth so that you will feel no pain while the dentist works on your teeth.
I Think I’m Allergic to the Local Anesthetic – Is That Possible?
It is possible, but very rare. In fact, only a few instances of allergic reactions to dental anesthetic have been reported worldwide. If you do have an allergic reaction, it will likely present as heart palpitations, sweating, headaches, or a rash. In very, very rare cases, anaphylactic shock can occur. This is practically unheard of, but you can rest assured that your dentist has medications on hand that can reverse anaphylactic shock.
Who Shouldn’t Have Local Anesthetic?
If there is such a person as someone who shouldn’t have local anesthetic, we haven’t met them yet. However, if you need just a very small cavity filled, it may be possible to prepare the site and fill the cavity without using any local anesthesia. In such cases, there should be no discomfort and the patient will not have to contend with the numbness following treatment.
Is Local Anesthetic Safe?
Yes. The incidences of complications from local dental anesthetic are so uncommon and so minor, as to be not even worth reporting. Even pregnant and lactating women can have local anesthetic administered.
What are the Risks of Local Anesthetic?
The risks are hardly risks at all – just minor complications. For example, you might find that you don’t “numb up” easily. In that case, the dentist will simply deliver more anesthetic until you feel confident that he or she can proceed with the work that needs to be done.
The converse is that you may remain numb for longer than you’re happy with. There is not much that can be done about this – nothing is going to make the anesthetic wear off faster. In rare cases, you may even feel a slight numbness the day after your treatment, but it is not harmful and will not last or cause any damage.
Should I Do Nitrous Oxide?
Whether or not to do nitrous oxide depends on your level of apprehension when you visit the dentist. Some patients are so dental-phobic that they neglect their dental care and then they end up needing extensive, costly procedures later on. If that sounds like you, chances are that you are a prime candidate for nitrous oxide. You will be relaxed to the point where you can have your dental treatment done with no anxiety.
Is Nitrous Oxide Safe?
Yes. Nitrous oxide is a very safe sedative agent that you simply breathe through a mask. Your dentist controls the amount of sedative you receive and once your dental treatment is complete, you will find that the sedative effect wears off quickly.
How Long Does It Last?
The effects generally wear off soon after the mask is removed. We do suggest though, just to be on the safe side, that you bring someone with you who can drive you home after your dental treatment.
Will Nitrous Oxide Put Me to Sleep?
No. You may feel a bit sleepy, but you will definitely remain alert and able to converse with your dentist about the treatments that are being done. Most patients report that with nitrous oxide, they simply feel very warm, very comfortable and very much at ease. Some report a bit of giddiness. The main thing is, and this is universally reported, that there is no anxiety.
Do I Still Need a Shot (Local Anesthetic) if I Get Nitrous Oxide?
Yes. You still need a local anesthetic to numb up your mouth. The nitrous oxide will be administered before the shot. So even though you will be getting a shot, it won’t trouble you.
What are the Risks of Nitrous Oxide?
Any drug can have side effects. Nitrous oxide has to be administered along with oxygen and if the balance is incorrect, side effects can include hallucinations, vertigo or dizziness. With modern dental technology though, it is virtually impossible for your dentist to get the balance wrong. Over-sedation is another possibility, but again, highly unlikely. The worst thing that can happen is that a patient may not respond to nitrous oxide, but again, this is very, very rare.
Should I do Sedation?
You know your own mind – your dentist does not. So if you are very apprehensive about dental treatment, don’t tell your dentist that you are “a little nervous.” There is no shame in admitting that you’re scared out of your wits. Your dentist does not want you to be afraid and there are a number of methods he or she can use to put you at ease. Nitrous oxide is one option, or you could also go with oral sedation, which is a pill that is used to relax you to the point where you are more receptive to treatment.
If you feel that a local anesthetic is not going to put you at ease, or even if you are terrified of the needle that is used to administer the local anesthetic, talk to your dentist about using something extra.
Is Oral Conscious Sedation Safe?
Oral conscious sedation is perfectly safe. It is a one-time use of a pill to relax you, so there is no risk of addiction. If you and your dentist decide to go with oral conscious sedation though, you should have someone come with you to your appointment so that you can be driven home, or plan to take a taxi. Oral conscious sedation can wear off quickly in some patients, but may last longer in others, so it is best to weigh on the side of caution.
Do I Still Need a Shot (Local Anesthetic) or Nitrous Oxide if I Do Oral Sedation?
If the procedure that you are having done would ordinarily require local anesthetic, then yes, you will still need it. Some procedures (small cavities, for instance), are often done without a local. The oral sedation is simply to relax you so that you can have a procedure carried out, whether or not it would ordinarily require local anesthesia. If oral sedation works for you, then you do not need nitrous oxide. The two are not used in combination.
How Much Does Sedation Cost?
The cost depends on the type of sedation. Usually, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $245.
Who Is a Candidate for Sedation, and Who Should Not Do Sedation?
Anyone who is apprehensive about dental treatment is a good candidate for sedation. However, if you are very concerned with losing control, you may want to reconsider. For most patients, the relaxed feeling that they gain with sedation dentistry is reason enough to consider it. However, some patients fear losing control more than they fear the dentist. You will not be “out of control” as such with sedation dentistry, but you probably will be very much of the mindset that tells you to just let your dentist do whatever he or she wants with your mouth. If this troubles you, then you will need to weigh the pros and cons of giving up a bit of control in order to have a less stressful dental experience.
What Are the Risks of Sedation?
Dental sedation is very safe. The only real risk is that you may be one of those very rare patients who does not respond well to sedation. In that case, your anxiety will be eased little or not at all. There will be no harmful effects, but you will still feel anxious. This is unlikely though.
Do You Do Sedation for Children?
Yes, we do. Having said that though, we would really prefer that you prepare your child properly for his or her dental appointment. Most of the time, children only fear what they are told to fear. So please, don’t tell your child that “It might hurt a bit” or “You may need to have a shot” or “If you are good at the dentist office, Mommy will get you a treat.” A child should not have to be afraid of the dentist, or assume that the experience will be so bad that a treat will be needed afterward.
That said, if your child is very apprehensive despite everything you have done to ensure that he or she knows that the dentist is not an enemy, we can offer safe sedation for him or her.
If you are dental-phobic, Boss Dental Care can offer a variety of sedation options that will ease your discomfort and make you feel more comfortable in the dentist chair. Our office is located at 801 Everhart Road, Corpus Christi, TX 78411. You can reach us at 361-992-7551, or use the form on our Contact Us page to book an appointment.