Whether you live in Ladera Ranch, Cucamonga, or some far-flung locale, you know a root canal is one of the most dreaded dental procedures there is. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A successful root canal can save a tooth and prevent the need for an extraction.
If Dr. Lincoln Parker determines that you need a root canal, he’ll explain that root canals are performed to save an infected tooth. If the tooth goes untreated, abscesses and complete tooth loss may occur.
During the procedure, the tooth’s nerve and pulp are removed. Next, the interior is cleaned and disinfected. Then it is filling and sealed with a special rubbery material. Finally, the restored tooth is sealed with a crown or filling.
Root canals have the reputation of being painful, but this is not the case anymore. There are several effective pain management methods available today at Parker Dentistry. From local painkillers and numbing agents to oral sedation, we will make sure you are comfortable during the procedure. Once the infected tissue is removed, focus turns to helping the oral site heal, which may require another visit.
Dental anxiety and the more severe dental phobia affect many Ladera Ranch people, including some Parker Dentistry patients. Today’s post answers some questions asked about this vital topic.
What are the long-term consequences of dental anxiety and dental phobia? The most detrimental consequence is when a dental phobic patient delays dental care until a pain becomes excruciating. At this point, the trouble is usually extremely advanced and requires extensive treatment.
Additionally, there are usually many other dental problems in varying stages of progression. Many oral conditions eventually cause malfunction in other vital systems risking general health and well-being.
There is also another anxiety at play, albeit a very ironic one. In addition to the emotional distress about dental treatment, the patient who avoids dental care starts panicking about the sorry condition of their teeth. If I have dental phobia or anxiety, what should I do to protect my oral health? Schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Lincoln Parker of Parker Dentistry in Ladera Ranch. There are several distinct fears associated with dental anxiety and dental phobia. Fear of pain, fear of the unknown, fear of loss of control, and extreme embarrassment because of poor dental health are the most common concerns. During your consultation, we will address each of your individual fears and discuss them.
I have helped many patients manage their anxiety during dental exams and treatment. First off, we take things slowly. I explain exactly what is going to happen before each procedure. If the patient is embarrassed about their lack of daily oral hygiene or dental cleanings in the past, I assure the patient that I have treated many people who have neglected their teeth and nothing going on in their mouth will shock me. I never, ever give stern lectures on proper oral care – though I do give friendly instruction if requested.
If local anesthetic is required, I employ my finely-honed procedures which cause zero to minimal discomfort. We agree upon a nonverbal signal, such as raising a hand, to cue me to remove my instrument from the patient’s mouth. Then he/she can take a break, breathe deeply, regain composure, ask questions, and learn the status of the procedure.
These practices go a long way to assuage anxious dental patients. At the very least, they help the patient get through the treatment that is needed ASAP. With each subsequent visit, the patient is comforted by increased familiarity, greater confidence, and a strengthened relationship with me and my friendly team.
What if I need more help to get through treatment? In the Ladera Ranch dental community, the terms “sleep dentistry” and “oral conscious sedation” are both used, however, they are not exactly the same thing. There are three main types of sedation used in dentistry.
Level 1: Nitrous Oxide Nitrous oxide, or, informally, “laughing gas” is safe and effective. Nitrous oxide has been used in Ladera Ranch cosmetic dental offices for decades because in many ways it is the optimal mild sedative. It goes to work at the first inhalation, relaxes the patient during the treatment without rendering them completely unconscious, and wears off quickly after the mask is removed. And no needles are needed – a critical feature for the needle-phobic.
Level 2: Oral Conscious Sedation Oral sedatives don’t start working as rapidly as nitrous oxide, but they help most patients achieve a deeper level of relaxation. These medications, however, do not usually bring about complete unconsciousness. Thus, oral sedatives and nitrous oxide are used in “conscious” sedation. Two common sedatives used by Ladera Ranch dentists to calm patient’s fears are diazepam and triazolam.
Level 3: IV Sedation IV sedation produces actual “sleep dentistry.” Most patients are completely oblivious to the dental procedures they are receiving. IV sedation is beneficial for root canals, wisdom teeth extractions, multi-procedure smile makeovers, and oral surgery.
Nobody enjoys pain. Your Ladera Ranch dentist knows this, and that is why the friendly dental team at Parker Dentistry have made patient comfort a top priority. In conjunction with creating a relaxing environment, your dentist has various medications that can reduce and even eliminate pain associated with different dental procedures to give you a more enjoyable experience.
Some of the most common pain-relieving medications used in Rancho Santa Margarita dentist offices and around the country are topical anesthetics. These are swabbed directly onto mouth tissue and numb the surface layers. Topical anesthetics can reduce the pain of mouth sores, or they can be applied to prepare the mouth for an injection.
Local anesthetics are injected into mouth tissue (usually the gums) to block the nerve sensations to specific areas of the mouth. Mission Viejo, Las Sorres, and San Juan Capistrano dentists frequently numb the mouth in this way before filling cavities, treating gum disease, or performing cosmetic dentistry procedures.
More involved dental procedures may necessitate nitrous oxide or even general anesthesia. Ask us about sleep dentistry and oral conscious sedation.
Dentists ordinarily recommend an OTC analgesic to relieve pain after a dental visit. These medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.
Because your Ladera Ranch cosmetic dentist will most likely use a pain reliever during the dental visit or prescribe something for you to take after the treatment, make sure you jot down a complete list of medications you are taking, including herbal supplements, before each appointment.
I’m Dr. Lincoln Parker and I want Rancho Santa Margarita patients to be informed about their dental care, especially as it pertains to pain relief during dental treatment. If you are in the Ladera Ranch area and are looking for quality dental care, please contact my office today at949-429-0049. Our friendly staff would be happy to communicate with you about cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, family dentistry, and the other services we offer.