Most of the time, pain gets the most of our attention – especially if the pain comes from our teeth. Dental pain can cause a wide variety of problems like depression, anxiety and anger, all of which can lead to unproductive and disruptive work behavior.
Anesthesiology or “Dental Anesthesiology” deals with the management of pain through the use of anesthetic procedures to relieve a patient of pain being felt through the course of a dental procedure or after a dental procedure (recuperation).
But where does pain come from, really?
There are two types of dental pain that can be felt:
1.) Dull pain – this is the type of sharp pain felt when we drink cold or hot drinks. This type of pain occurs when the bacteria have infiltrated the nerves and pulp of a tooth, thereby stimulating the nerves and the pulpal tissue, causing a sharp, temporary pain to be felt. When left untreated, the pain felt may accumulate and lead to more severe cases that may lead tooth extraction to be the last resort. This pain can be averted if the tooth is immediately examined for bacteria, cleaned and filled with a composite filling.
2.) Sharp pain – this type of pain, when left untreated, is usually the onset of dull pain. When drinking hot or cold drinks or most likely when gargling, the substances make their way into holes in the teeth, thereby stimulating the nerves and pulpal tissue. The cringing pain is felt for a few seconds, and may extend to a few minutes.
Sharp pain can also be felt when fracture or crack in a cuspid is flexed during a bite. This will sensate the nerves, thereby causing temporary, sharp pain.
A few simple ways to temporary avert the pain being felt is to intake analgesics.
Analgesics are painkillers formulated to relieve pain for a short while and people are not advised to take painkillers on a regular basis, as have potentially hazardous effects on the liver. Analgesics are often given to patients who have underwent a dental extraction or a root canal therapy because even though the tooth has been removed/treated, pain can still be felt to the extent of a week.
Dental anesthesia, on the other hand, can only be administered by a licensed dentist. Dental anesthesia is used on dental procedures like tooth extractions and root canal therapy. Without anesthesia, the patient may scream or lose consciousness because of the pain being felt in the midst of the surgical procedure.
There are different levels of dental anesthetics, such as:
Local Anesthesia – deriving the meaning from the word “local”, local anesthesia is a drug injected only to a specific area of the mouth, particularly to the area where the dental extraction, cavity filling or root canal therapy is about to take place. It will numb the tissues of the area on where it will be injected.
The effect of local anesthesia will only last for about a few hours, so analgesics/painkillers are expected to be prescribed.
Conscious Sedation – from the word itself, “conscious sedation” makes use of an anti-anxiety agent to relax and sedate the patient during the therapy. Though there is full consciousness during the dental procedure, unwanted irks and other bodily movements will be averted, making the procedure easier to administer.
General Anesthesia – or “deep sedation” is a common term for anesthetic procedures that will render the patient unconscious and impervious to pain after the drug has been administered. General anesthesia is usually used on complex and rather painful dental procedures if done on a conscious patient.