According to the sources, 9 to 15% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist, and the situation is more or less similar for most of the countries. Some people are scared because of a past dental experience which was traumatic; while some have fear of the unknown. One of the most common fears being the dental anesthesia or the fear of the needle, I have tried to elaborate and explain all the different levels and types of anesthesia. I hope it helps.
Local anesthesia: It is the most commonly used techniques in dentistry and is the mildest of all. Generally, this is the only anesthesia used for most procedures. I have done treatments from a small composite filling to a wisdom tooth removal surgery solely using LA and it has worked out just fine.
Procedure: It is a very simple two-step process. First, a numbing gel or a topical anesthetic is applied, which desensitizes the surface where the needle will enter. After this, a very thin needle is inserted and the anesthetic solution is released into the desired tissue in your mouth.
Now, when I say needle, a lot of people imagine those big long ones, but the times have changed. Dentistry has been constantly evolving and the needles available now are much smaller and thinner making the process much simpler and almost pain-free.
When people say they felt a little pain or discomfort it is not the poking of the needle, it is this release of fluid into the tissues. And this discomfort is extremely short-lived, so much so where some people don’t even realize when it’s done.
The numbing effect is localized, meaning if I decide to work on your upper right tooth, only that area is anesthetized, and the rest of the mouth will feel normal. Also, there will be no sedative effect and you can continue your day like normal (after most of the simple procedures).
Coming to other types of anesthesia, whether it be laughing gas or oral pills for sedation, they make you calmer and help you relax. But none of them will do the actual work of anesthetizing, local anesthesia is still required to numb the area. So yes, you can opt for these, but I prefer calming the patients by explaining the procedures rather than by chemical means unless absolutely necessary. For details about these procedures, stay tuned and sign up for the updates.