I have a high tolerance for lidocaine, so my dental visits are horrifying and painful. Three years ago, I got discouraged and stopped going to the dentist. Now I have four teeth that need extraction. I want to take control of my oral health. I’ve delayed the extractions because I want dental implants right away. I’m concerned about finding a gentle dentist who can do this with minimal pain and keep the costs down of getting four dental implants. How can I manage both?
Your high tolerance for lidocaine reflects a high level of dental anxiety. Instead of more local anesthetic, you need a relaxant. Dentists who know the subject and are interested in treating anxious patients ask questions to determine if they can benefit from sedation. A dentist might ask, “How does novocaine or lidocaine work for you?” When a patient says they have a high resistance to the anesthetic, their dentist can give them nitrous oxide or an oral sedative before the appointment to relieve anxiety. And the local anesthetic works fine.
Often, dental phobia is related to past negative dental experiences in childhood or adulthood. Many dentists have had negative or stressful experiences in the dental chair as patients. They get anxious too, and the local anesthetic wears off quickly unless they receive some form of dental sedation.
You can search online for a dentist who offers sedation. A dentist who makes it known that sedation is available is used to working with anxious patients and makes an effort to be gentle. It might be helpful to schedule a consultation first, speak with the dentist about your experience with lidocaine, and discuss your goals for dental implants and a new smile. Nitrous oxide might be enough to give you a sense of well-being, so your body accepts the lidocaine.
Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy sponsors this post.