Managing Pain Anxiety Before, During, and After Dental Surgery

A Dentist At Work With A Young Patient

Pain is important as one of our senses to guide us through life. But during dental surgery? We think just about every one of our patients could do without all that. In fact, 1 out of 5 patients will avoid the dentist due to anxiety or fear. The pain that is often associated with dental surgery is something we go to great lengths to reduce as much as possible for our patients, especially those with lower pain tolerance. We also work hard to educate our patients about what they can expect during, before, and after dental surgery. After all, we only fear what we don’t know!

Many people fear needles above all else. While they can be very effective, today’s modern medicine has given us extremely effective tools. Topical anesthetics are on the forefront for those looking to avoid needles, allowing us to apply localized numbing agent like lidocaine directly onto the mouth or gums.

Anesthetics can also be delivered electronically now using technology known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Instead of injections or topical anesthetics, TENS uses adhesive pads that transmit electrical pulses in order to numb the area. This also lets the patient control the level of numbness and pain relief through a handheld controller. There’s also cranial electrotherapy stimulation, also controlled by the patient, which also allows the patient to relax entirely during the procedure.

After surgery, pain can be a constant factor for several weeks, depending on the severity of the surgery. The most effective pain medication we prescribe is one we’re all familiar with: ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). Those who can’t take ibuprofen for any reason can also take regular Tylenol. Stronger pain medications are something we ideally try to avoid, given the current climate and nature of the opioid crisis. However, while medications such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) or oxycodone (Percocet) are incredibly effective, they can often cause nausea, impact appetite, or worse lead to addiction/abuse.

We’re dentists. We understand pain, and always do our best to help our patients reduce their anxiety before surgery, identify the ideal anesthetic during surgery, and help you manage the pain after your successful surgery.

Author
Belmont Dentistry

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