Why Don’t I Get Numb at the Dentist?

Sedation Dentistry (Dental Anesthesia) New York CitySome people have a difficult time getting numb for dental work and by the time they come to our NYC sedation dentistry office, they have had a few bad dental experiences. Often, the problem that has gone on for years is that the person has not been easy to numb up before dental procedures, but there are solutions. Here, we discuss a few reasons why numbing may be more challenging and, most importantly, what we can do to help you get the care you need in a comfortable manner you deserve.


Dentists are thoroughly trained in the administration of local anesthetic medication. However, there is no way for training to compensate for a person’s unique anatomy. Most people’s nerves and teeth and bones that are located in the mouth are in a similar spot. There may be one in ten people whose nerves are situated differently than in the anatomy textbook. Unique nerves are simply impossible to predict.


Our genes determine quite a few things about our physical reality, even our pain tolerance. According to one study, dentists may need to administer approximately 20 percent more anesthetic to numb redheaded patients. Apparently, people with red hair tend to have a lower pain threshold. Knowing this, you can alert your dentist to the fact, so you receive the appropriate dosing for your particular needs.


Dental anxiety presents several obstacles that only exacerbate a person’s fear of seeing the dentist. When anxious, the body produces stress chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline. The heightened state of the nervous system may affect a person’s ability to remain still to receive a local anesthetic and may also make the anesthetic wear off very quickly or not take effect at all.


An infected tooth is very acidic inside, right down to the roots and nerves. The ideal environment for the dental anesthetic to work properly is one that is very close to neutral pH. Therefore, when there is an obvious infection, the dentist should know to either prescribe antibiotics to treat the problem before working on the tooth or to administer a nerve block or sedative to completely numb the tooth for proper treatment.

Our New York City office is a dental anesthesiology center in which we have numerous forms of dental sedation to choose from when treating our patients and with using modern techniques, numbness can be achieved. Here, your comfort is our priority. To learn more about our services or to schedule your visit, call (212) 974-8737.

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