I’ve had a nightmare of a tooth extraction. First, it took twelve shots to get me numb. Then, I developed a bone spur after the extraction. I went back to have that removed and now I’m still in pain. There’s also what seems like a bony ridge by the site. What’s going on?
It’s fairly common for sharp edges to surface during the healing process. When your tooth is removed, the socket will have a sharp edge to it. It’s not as noticeable in the beginning because your gum tissue is over it. As it heals, the gum can shrink down and the sharp edge will then be on the surface. If it’s causing pain, your dentist can smooth it over.
I’m a little concerned about the twelve shots of Novocain that were required for you to be fully numb. This can happen for one of two reasons. First, the dentist could have a problem missing the proper injection site. Second, and the more likely scenario, is you have underlying dental anxiety.
Some dentists don’t yet realize how anxiety affects a patient’s ability to get and stay numb. This isn’t your fault and is likely caused by a traumatic experience you had at the dentist in your past. When you get in the dental chair for a procedure, your anxiety kicks in. This, in turn, ratchets up your metabolism enough to burn off your numbing medication. This can make it almost impossible to get numb.
Fortunately, there is a solution.
The Solution to Dental Anxiety
I’m going to recommend you ask your dentist if he or she will provide you with dental sedation. There are usually two levels of sedation available. The first is nitrous oxide. This is a gas you breathe in with a nose piece. It is fairly mild but enough to relax you. For some patients, this is enough to enable the medication to work for you. Once the procedure is over, your dentist will simply switch the gas from nitrous to oxygen and you’ll be up and ready to go in just a few moments. You can carry on with your day as normal.
Other patients, with more extreme anxiety, require a sedation a bit stronger. That is where oral conscious sedation comes in. This is a pill you will take before your appointment. This is very strong. Because of that, you will need someone to drive you to and from your dental appointment. It should be someone you trust because they’ll need to stay with you after your appointment for a few hours, until you are lucid again.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.