7 Techniques to Minimize Pain During a Dental Procedure

The majority of people who avoid seeing a dentist do so out of fear of pain or discomfort. Some people will put off these appointments for years, often forsaking the health of their teeth, simply because of a bad experience or extreme dental anxiety. Between the advances in medical science and the technology available today, as well as further education and support on the part of most dental offices, patients are being given a new lease on their dental health with more options for relieving pain during dental procedures.

Within the past decade, dental providers have taken it upon themselves to create a more patient-centric care delivery method, including better options for easing anxiety and pain. From technological advances like laser drills to increased pain relief options on-site, dentists are doing their best to make sure that patients have the resources they need to minimize pain and keep their oral health in the best condition possible.

Local Anesthesia


This is the most common method of pain relief that dentists have been using for decades. The combination of a topical and local anesthetic is utilized wherever the work is being done, allowing the dentist to repair or remove teeth as needed with little to no feeling or pain to the patient. Anyone who has been to the dentist has probably had local anesthesia. Medicines like lidocaine are used to block the nerves that transmit pain signals from the mouth to the brain so that dentists can perform fillings, root canals, extractions, and other dental work.




Laughing Gas

Also known as Nitrous Oxide, laughing gas is another pain relief option that many dentists have been using for decades. This gas offers almost instant feelings of relaxation and relief, but it must be constantly administered to continue producing this feeling. Once the gas has been shut off, patients will go back to feeling normal relatively quickly. This is also one of the only pain relief options that allows patients to drive themselves home and doesn’t require abstaining from food prior to the procedure.


IV Sedation and General Anesthesia


For patients who have more severe pain or anxiety, intravenous sedation may be a better choice. In this treatment, a sedative is injected into the IV to keep the patient in a sort of “twilight” state where they aren’t entirely asleep but they are quite relaxed. Many patients report feeling like they closed their eyes and then woke up and the work was done. Only dentists who are licensed can utilize IV sedation for relief of dental pain and anxiety, so if this interests you, make sure that you find a provider that offers such services.


In the case of serious dental work that needs done, general anesthesia can sometimes be used. This is more often seen in a hospital setting than an dental office, though, because there are a lot of risks with general sedation and patients need extensive monitoring by an anesthesiologist. This is generally a last resort for pain relief in dental work simply because there are many other options that are easier and involve less risk for patients. If you feel that general anesthesia might be required for the work that you need done, talk to your dentist.


Pre-Appointment Medications 

Oral medications are often given to patients to take before coming in for an appointment. Medications such as Vicodin or Halcion are most common. These medications can help patients relax prior to coming into their appointment, and are a great choice for those who have extreme dental anxiety that might affect their even being able to get to the office for their appointment. While these are convenient, they might not be a preferred choice by some dentists because it can take 30 minutes or more to feel the effect and the drowsiness that results can last for hours.



For many people, the pain of having dental work done is more of a mental issue than a physical one. Meditation is one way to help minimize pain and discomfort that doesn’t involve drugs. Deep breathing and relaxing thoughts can go a long way to help the body get into a relaxed state, which will result in less pain and anxiety during any medical or dental procedure. Guided imagery, deep breathing, and even hypnosis can be utilized to calm the mind and reduce pain by focusing on other things.




Another alternative to traditional pain relief is acupuncture. This method involves placing thin needles into certain areas of the body, which allows the body to release a variety of chemicals that are known to have a pain relieving effect on the body. This should not be done without a licensed professional, however, and it is best to choose one experienced in utilizing acupuncture to alleviate dental pain and anxiety.




During dental procedures, distraction is among the best non-medical options for minimizing pain and discomfort. This is why many dental offices have put televisions in their exam rooms. Some even have headphones to help you block out the noise of the dental instruments, which can further help minimize the discomfort. You can bring your own music or podcasts to listen to, as well. Some providers have even begun to invest in virtual reality goggles, giving you an interactive way to distract yourself during dental procedures.



What Works for You

When you are considering your options to minimize pain during dental work, think about what “pain” means to you. Are you good with just a local anesthetic so that you don’t feel the work being done? Do you have anxiety issues that might require a more serious method of pain relief and sedation? Today’s dentists are doing more than ever to help patients feel comfortable, so don’t be afraid to ask how your provider can help you get rid of pain and anxiety during your visits. If this is the only thing keeping you from the dentist, you will be pleased to find out that you have plenty of options for managing pain and getting your oral health back on track. Learn more at https://msdcwagga.com.au/.

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