I had to have a root canal treatment on a tooth that was injured years ago and has now picked up an infection. My dentist could not get me numb, even after six shots for one tooth. He’s at a loss. He didn’t charge me for the visit and has prescribed me some strong pain killers. I can’t live like this much longer. My dentist is doing his own research to try to figure out what to do, but I thought I’d write to you to see if you have experienced this with any of your patients. If so, did you find a solution?
I can help you. I have encountered this a few times. My suspicion is you struggle with some level of dental anxiety. Actually, based on how hard it was for your dentist to get you numb, it’s probably strong anxiety. It may not be in going to the dentist on its own, but in the procedure you needed.
What many dentists don’t realize is how that anxiety affects your metabolism. When you are anxious, your body’s metabolism kicks up a notch. This burns off the numbing medication. Therefore, what you need is something to keep your anxiety level down.
I’m going to suggest you use dental sedation for this procedure. Most dentists who offer sedation have two levels available. The first is nitrous oxide. This is for patients who are mildly anxious. It’s commonly called laughing gas and will relax you. It has the additional benefit of allowing you to get on with your day as normal after the procedure is done.
The second level is for those with more substantial anxiety. It’s known as oral conscious sedation (OCS). This is administered by a pill. However, it is so strong, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment, as well as remain with you afterward until you are lucid again. Most patients who take OCS sleep through their procedure, which is why some call it sleep dentistry.
If your dentist doesn’t offer either of these services, you can see a different practitioner for your root canal treatment. You don’t have to switch dentists entirely if you are happy with your current one. You can just go for this one thing and then return to your dentist.
Generally, after a root canal treatment, you will need to have a dental crown placed to protect the tooth.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. John Weaver.