Dental Anesthesia NYC

Why is it difficult for some people to become numb at the dentist office?

There are a variety of reasons people have trouble getting numb at the dentist.

A woman smiling in a mirror sitting in a dental chair happy with her results.

Here are a few common reasons:

  • Redheaded people have a gene that affects pain receptors, requiring up to 20 percent more anesthetic to achieve numbness.
  • Everyone’s anatomy is a little different — some people have additional nerves, or the nerves can be in slightly different areas.
  • Anxiety and stress chemicals produced by the body can make anesthetics not as long-lasting or effective.
  • Infected areas can be more challenging to anesthetize because they create an acidic environment. Anesthesia wants a neutral pH.
  • Anesthetic cartridges could be out of date or could have been stored at too warm a temperature.

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What we can do if you have difficulty getting numb?

There is always a way to get you properly numbed for dental treatment. We have a variety of anesthetics and various methods for delivering them. You just may require additional numbing techniques.

In the instances listed above:

  • Redheads simply need more anesthetic to become adequately numb.
  • It may take a different technique to get to the right spot and numb an area.
  • To help with anxiety, nitrous oxide or sedation can be used to relax before giving the injection.
  • Infections can be treated prior to the appointment, or an anesthetic block can be used to maintain comfort.
  • Our office keeps all anesthetics up to date and stored in a cool room.
A close up headshot of a beautiful Asian woman smiling outdoors.

Additional techniques we offer:

  • The Wand – a computer-assisted system for delivering local anesthesia. This technology offers a comfortable delivery method and a more precise numbness for the tooth or area being treated.
  • Onset – a special buffering system for a local anesthetic to help make it more effective. This system is used for all our patients using local anesthetic only (without sedation) because it provides a comfortable delivery.

Who is a good candidate for dental Anesthesia?

We include local numbing whenever a patient could experience any level of discomfort. Our first priority is your comfort. If you’re anxious about an injection, we have modern techniques and delivery methods, such as the Wand and Onset, that help us comfortably deliver the local anesthetics.

We provide numbing for everything from removing decay and placing a filling to root canals. These are not elective options, but we always use a local anesthetic to keep the patient completely pain-free during the treatment.

Should you still feel anxious, we do offer sedation options to help you relax.

Dental numbing shouldn’t be confused with sedation dentistry, where Dr. Siegelman, a board-certified dentist anesthesiologist, administers oral or intravenous sedation. This is used for more involved procedures, for patients with needle phobia, for anxious patients, when the patient would like us to perform more than one procedure in a session, and for various other reasons. Unlike sedation, dental numbing is a local anesthetic injected to numb the site of the treatment. 

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Different Types of Dental Anesthesia We Use

For dental numbing, typically we use Carbocaine and Lidocaine. These newer local anesthetics have replaced Novocaine, which was the previous standard.

We can include nitrous oxide with numbing to help patients relax.

What procedures are performed with dental anesthesia?

A senior dentist scrapes away some debris from between a patient tooth while the dental nurse applies suction in the mouth to take away any foreign objects. The brightly lit dentist surgery is clean and modern.We use dental numbing whenever a procedure could cause the patient any discomfort. This would involve any drilling for a cavity. These procedures would include placing a filling, preparing a tooth for a crown, and a root canal. Any dental extraction requires numbing beforehand. Most gum procedures require dental numbing; root scaling and planing usually only require local numbing, although some patients also often ask for sedation to help them relax.

How long does Dental Anesthesia Last?

Typically, your lips and tongue in the area will be numb for 2-5 hours after the injection is given. Gradually, as your blood flows through the area, it carries away the anesthetic and it is metabolized and broken down. This is how the numbness goes away. We offer a reversal agent, oraverse, that will decrease that time and you will be feeling back to normal twice as fast after a procedure.

Dental anesthesia side effects

There are no aftereffects with these local anesthetics. While the numbing is ongoing, you should be careful when drinking liquids, as the lack of feeling can cause you to lose some of the liquid. This can be a problem with hot drinks, such as coffee. There are no restrictions on driving or other activities.

Why is Seeing the Dentist so Painful?

Having a toothache or gum inflammation can be a painful problem. It is one that your dentist should address as quickly as possible. However, if you have dental anxiety, as so many people do, you may not schedule routine dental exams and cleanings to prevent these problems. Then, when you do have to see the dentist, the nerves around the affected tooth or teeth are inflamed and sensitive, making it feel as though dental treatment is more painful than it should be. In our NYC sedation dentistry office, we prioritize comfort. We do not want your visits to be painful in the least because we know that discomfort in the dental chair can exacerbate your fear of seeing the dentist. In addition to nerve inflammation, your sense of anxiety could influence your pain threshold at the dentist’s office. So can caffeine consumption prior to your visit, or sleeping poorly the night before your appointment.

If you find dental visits extraordinarily painful, please contact our office. We can walk you through some of the ways you might prepare for your visit and also discuss the measures that we can take to ensure that you can have a pain-free experience with us.

What is Painless Dentistry?

Painless dentistry is an assurance that your dentist has proven solutions to eliminate pain and anxiety during dental visits. Dr. Siegelman is an experienced dentist and dental anesthesiologist who specializes in challenging cases. Dental anxiety can make every visit more uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. Painless dentistry begins when you first contact our office. It includes an abundance of understanding and compassion for your fears, and clear communication about how we provide care without pain. This includes reducing the sensations of receiving a local anesthetic in an area of the mouth! Using precise techniques and innovative instruments, Dr. Siegelman and our experienced team can make your entire visit actually feel pleasant. Painless dentistry may involve sedation before any anesthetic is given, an instrument like the Wand, which disguises the sensation of receiving anesthetic injections, and other modalities as needed. When you contact our office for your appointment, please feel free to ask about the various ways in which we will keep you comfortable.

What if Local Anesthesia Doesn’t Work?

You can be comfortable in our dental office even if you’ve had issues getting numb in the past! Dr. Siegelman is well aware of the many reasons dental anesthesia may not seem to work. Sometimes it is because there is an active infection, sometimes anesthesia doesn’t work well due to a patient’s anxiety and activated nervous system. If you have difficulty getting numb with local anesthesia alone, the inclusion of nitrous oxide sedation or another sedative can help. In most cases, this is sufficient. In some cases, alternative techniques are necessary to ensure that dental procedures are completely painless. As a dental anesthesiologist, Dr. Siegelman has a wealth of knowledge and practical experience working with patients just like you. Contact our office today to learn more about our protocols for numbing patients who are not easily responsive to traditional numbing techniques.

How Can I Make My Dentist Visit Less Painful?

There are several ways that you can decrease the fear and discomfort associated with dental visits. First, we suggest that you contact our office to have a thoughtful discussion about our treatment methods. Knowing that you are in good hands and will receive care from a staff and dentist who understand dental anxiety can do wonders for your stress level as your appointment approaches. The doctor may also suggest strategies that you can implement a day or two before your appointment to ease the expectation of pain and fear. Examples include avoiding caffeine and alcohol. Also, ask the dentist about taking pain medication like acetaminophen before your appointment. Music can be very soothing to your mind and body. Wearing headphones during your dental exam, cleaning, or other treatment can create a greater sense of calm that promotes optimal physical comfort.

See What Our Patients Have To Say…

I was so happy to find Dr. Siegelman! He is a gentle, professional, and talented dentist. When I needed a root canal, Dr. Siegelman put all of my fears to rest, put me to sleep and when I woke up, he was finished. I did not experience any pain! I brought my 88-year-old mother to Dr. Siegelman for extractions that she needed. She was very worried about the procedure but extremely happy that she did not have any pain during the procedure or after. I can’t say enough wonderful things about Dr. Siegelman, I recommend him to all.” – Amanda MB.

“My friend recommended me to Dr. Siegelman. Said that he’s the best and I should really check him out so I did- this was almost a year ago- and I couldn’t agree more with my friend. Siegelman is very precise and skilled. You can just tell he has confidence in what he’s doing. I’m really happy for the recommendation because I no longer have to dread going to the dentist. – Phillip M.

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Dr. Louis Siegelman has extensive experience treating patients with dental anxiety, dental phobia, and needle phobia. Call today at (212) 974-8737 or fill out a Contact Form here to learn more about these problems in New York City, Westchester County, Long Island, Rockland County, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

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A consultation appointment is what we recommend that your first visit be as a patient. Overall patient satisfaction depends on quality communication with the doctor. At Louis Siegelman, DDS, our patient’s satisfaction is our main focus. If there is anything we can do to make your experience easier or more comfortable, please let us know. Your suggestions are sincerely appreciated.

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