3505 Converse Drive, Suite 100
Wilmington, NC 28403
206 Dock Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
HERBERT MCNEAL D.D.S.
5509 B W FRIENDLY AVE STE 300
GREENSBORO, NC, 27410
8440 PIT STOP COURT NW STE A & B
CONCORD, NC, 28207
K ALEX POOLE II D.D.S.
2835 HORSE PEN CREEK RD STE 106
GREENSBORO, NC, 27410
KING FAMILY DENTISTRY
226 KIRBY RD
KING, NC, 27021
Many patients face their dental appointment with a degree of anxiety. Research has shown that the largest cause of this fear is the fear of pain ... the fear that at some time during their dental care treatment they are going to be hurt.
Sedation dentists have information available about a variety of drugs known as local anesthetics, which are the safest and most effective drugs in all of medicine. Local anesthetics are a resource used in anxiety-free dentistry for the prevention and management of dental anxiety resulting from dental and surgical procedures, not to put the patient to sleep.
Local anesthetics, commonly called Novocain by patients (Novocain is no longer used, having been replaced by newer, safer, and more effective drugs), are drugs which, when injected near a nerve, prevent stimulation from reaching the brain where it would be interpreted by a person as pain. Sedation dentists interested in practicing anxiety-free dentistry know these also work very well as temporary relief of a tooth ache.
The injectable local anesthetics, used today by sedation dentists provide complete relief about 100% of the time. The duration of the numbness varies from drug to drug -- some providing short durations, while others remain effective for up to 12 hours. A doctor will select a drug for a patient that is appropriate for the type of dental care procedure they are having done.
In order to be effective during dental treatment, local anesthetics usually need to be injected. For many people, this is the most uncomfortable part of the entire dental appointment.
Local anesthetics can be administered quite comfortably. Sedation dentists and dental hygienists take pride in their ability to administer local anesthesia easily and comfortably.
The following are some of the procedures sedation dentists practicing anxiety-free dentistry might use to make this procedure more comfortable:
If an individual is fearful of receiving a local anesthetic injection, they should tell the assistant or the sedation dentist BEFORE the procedure starts. The use of conscious sedation such as laughing gas, as part of anxiety-free dentistry, can work wonders to make this procedure more comfortable for the patient.
By Stanley F. Malamed, DDS
Q. What is endodontics?
A. Endodotics is the area of dentistry that specifically deals with what is called the dental pulp within a tooth.
Q. What is dental pulp?
A. The dental pulp is a soft tissue comprised of tiny arteries, veins, nerves and lymph vessels for the tooth.
Q. Where does the term root canal come from?
A. The tooth is comprised of three basic components. The first component is the crown/enamel, which is seen by the naked eye.
The next level of the tooth is dentin, which is under the enamel and the “housing” for the dental pulp.
The final component is the dental pulp and is the core of the tooth. This bulk of the dental pulp is in the center of the tooth or the pulp chamber, and is connected to the Mandibular Canal through the root canals. The root canals are like veins for the dental pulp.
Q. What does the procedure root canal mean?
A. Root canal has become a term for a procedure involving the dental pulp. When the dental pulp has been exposed and damaged, it must be treated professionally and this process is usually referred to as getting a root canal.
Q. What does a root canal procedure entail?
A. Once the dental pulp has been infected, it must be removed from both the pulp chamber and the root canals. Once it has been removed, the pulp chamber and root canals are thoroughly cleaned and enlarged. Based on the level of infection, the dentist may choose to clean the area more than once. After the area is free of infection, the dentist will fill the root canals and pulp chamber with a filling that will prevent any bacteria from entering the area. Finally, the dentist will place a crown over the tooth to restore it to its original shape.
Q. What causes dental pulp to become damaged or infected?
A. Normally, when a deep cavity occurs, it exposes the dental pulp to the bacteria inside the mouth. When exposed to this bacteria, the dental pulp can become infected and thus cause the inside of the tooth to be infected.
Q. What can happen if infected dental pulp is not treated?
A. Overtime, the infected pulp will die. At the same time, pus from the infection will develop at the base of the tooth and cause an abscess to form. If this occurs, it is not uncommon for the abscess to cause the bone holding the tooth to deteriorate. If this deterioration becomes too severe, the tooth will fall out.
Q. What role does the computer play in the dental care industry?
A. In the future, patient records may be kept on computer disks, including visual images captured on intraoral cameras. A computerized workstation beside the patient's chair will give the dentist the ability to view the patient's history from disk.
Also, the dentist might use a voice-recognition system to ask the computer to assist in finding that data, or create a “before and after” image so the patient can preview the result of dental work before it is done.