Does Pain-Free Dentistry Really Exist?
Many children are afraid of going to the dentist. While losing teeth and getting new teeth are part of growing up for everyone, some children also experience cavities and the accompanying discomfort of getting fillings. These early dental experiences form our perceptions of “going to the dentist.” If we have positive experiences, then going to the dentist means nothing more than getting clean teeth and a new toothbrush. However, if we have negative experiences, then going to the dentist is viewed as something to be avoided at all costs. Fear due to traumatic dental experiences often carries over into adulthood and can result in many adults choosing to avoid regular dental checkups.
Despite any negative dental experiences you might have had as a child or as an adult, dental treatment does NOT have to be painful or traumatic. Skilled dentists can give shots that you barely even feel and they make their patient’s comfort a priority. If you don’t have that kind of dentist currently, ask friends and family members for their recommendations, check reviews on Yelp, and keep looking until you find a dentist that cares and provides you with gentle, pain-free treatment. What you don’t want to do is avoid getting regular dental checkups. It is much easier to prevent a dental problem than to correct it. But even if you have a dental problem, the sooner you deal with it, the easier the treatment will be. Ignoring it won’t make the problem go away. But many patients are still afraid of the pain, so let’s talk about pain-free dentistry.
In my practice as a periodontist and dental implant specialist, I perform dental surgeries every day. Many of my patients require the extraction and/or replacement of their teeth due to infections, failed root canals, or just the desire to get a dental implant to fill the space from a missing tooth. These treatments can be performed with no or minimal pain experienced by the patient.
Many of my patients choose to have me do their dental extractions instead of their general dentist. They have told me “horror stories” about their previous extractions that took their general dentist a long time to perform and were very painful for the patient. They never want to repeat those experiences so they decide to seek out a specialist. The dental “horror stories” that you may have heard or experienced yourself can be avoided when you see a specialist for your extraction. Before performing an extraction, I will carefully review the patient’s x-rays and/or CT scan (both of which I provide in my office) in order to determine the best approach to remove the tooth quickly and with the least amount of patient discomfort. This planning is very important since I want to be sure to avoid any damage to the patient’s nerves and/or other teeth. I provide my patients with many options for pain relief during the procedure and can also provide sedatives as well as IV sedation if they are feeling anxious. Immediately after the tooth is extracted, I typically use growth factors, which are put into the extraction site to decrease any pain and inflammation and to promote rapid healing. Patients are usually very surprised that they do not feel much pain after the procedure. When a specialist removes a tooth quickly and with minimal trauma to the surrounding tissue, the patient will have the benefit of less pain, inflammation, and swelling after the procedure compared to an extraction performed by a general dentist who may not have the same level of skill and experience and who doesn’t utilize the latest healing technology of growth factors.
The dental experiences of patients who are treated by skilled and experienced specialists, who keep up with the latest advances in dental techniques and technology, are significantly more positive than those who see dentists using outdated treatment methods. Pain is no longer a given when it comes to dental treatment in the 21st century. Find a dentist who puts the comfort of his or her patients first, and experience pain-free dentistry yourself.
Dr. Al Manesh
Periodontist and Implant Specialist
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