For those people who have anxiety, just at the thought of going to the dentist, you have some solace knowing he or she will do their best to put you at ease. This may involve a local numbing anesthetic.
But did you know that these do not work on everyone? There are factors that determine your personal ability to get numb. Although rare, if it happened to you in the past you may need to understand.
There are various numbing techniques which work by numbing a single tooth versus numbing a nerve or nerves supplying sensation to a group of teeth. Sometimes you need to numb “accessory nerves” to get to the root of the problem (pun). Not all techniques can be used on all teeth, the upper teeth respond differently than the lower teeth and the location of the tooth depends on suitability.
If this has happened to you previously, it is wise to give your dentist a heads up, so they know what to look for.
Unfortunately, not all dentists share the same technique or training. There is a chance they did not give enough anaesthetic, didn’t wait long enough for it to be effective, placed it improperly, used an expired batch, or could have chosen better.
There are some interesting urban legends surrounding your ability to get numb. If someone tries to blame it on your morning cup of orange juice or taking too much Vitamin C, seek dental help elsewhere. The acid from orange juice stays in your GI tract and does not affect your numbing.
The most common causes either singularly or in combination are:
- Missed correct placement of needle in lower jaw (or even upper jaw)
- Variation (practitioner unaware) in individual anatomy (variation from average/normal for main nerve canal entrance into lower jaw, or additional main nerve canal) (panoramic x-ray helpful to show this anatomy, not visible on little intraoral x-rays)
- Accessory nerves from cervical (neck) areas into lower jaw
- Extra connective tissue around main nerves, (like extra insulation around an electrical wire), blocking the local anesthetic solution from “getting in”
- Fast redistribution of local anesthetic solution away from area of injection
- Fast metabolism of local anesthetic solution
- Over-inflammation of main sensory nerves supplying innervation to the area. The over-inflamed nerve will still pass pain signals to the brain because it no longer functions correctly physiologically.
There is a group of rare genetic disorders which affect connective tissues. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome can affect your numbing.
Your own metabolism may prevent anaesthetic from working as expected, as can your own anxiety. There are methods to counter both of these. Many patients are so anxious that, although quite numb, believe they are really not. The audio sounds and vibration (from the drill) a patient may feel can be misinterpreted as pain. You can also have actual discomfort from a different tooth than the one being worked on.
In either case, we promise to numb a smile out of you while you are having your dental work expertly done
When you are with Dr. Lee Lichtenstein, you can be assured of the finest training in sedation services, including state of the art anesthesia services. Dr. Lichtenstein is a Board-Certified Dentist Anesthesiologist, an active member of 11 Dental Societies, holds 6 Fellowships, and is a consultant to the State Board of Dentistry. This is definitely a dental health provider that loves what he does.
His extraordinary education, expertise and experience sets Dr. Lichtenstein above and beyond the other dentists in a very wide radius around Monmouth County.
Give us a call, come on in for a consultation and learn how you can lay back and enjoy a visit to the dentist. Dr. Lee Lichtenstein and his highly trained staff offer general dentistry services as well as dental treatments that can be performed using sedation dentistry and general anesthesia techniques to make patients’ experiences more pleasant and comfortable.