Although we may have already covered this topic a bit before on this blog (see: "Cure Your Odontophobia Today!"), the following cannot be stressed enough: if you put off going to the dentist, you are just going to end up making things harder for yourself in the end, because the earlier that dental problems are discovered by your dentist, the easier the procedure for dealing with them will be. Regardless of this, many people unfortunately end up putting-off going to the dentist as long as they can, and it's usually mostly out of fear of experiencing pain while in the dentist's chair. However, luckily for anyone that doesn't like pain (which, I would bet includes most all of us!), this common fear is entirely unjustified, due to many wonderful recent (and not-so-recent) advances in the way that dental care is administered.
Indeed, pain-free dentistry is now a reality, and can make even the most extreme of dental procedures more than easy to deal with. But, regardless of this fact, many people, when considering the prospect of going to the dentist, still think of the "Wild West" days of dental care, when the only pain-management system was Doc Holiday's bottle of whiskey. However, nowadays dentists have at their disposal all sorts of modern and advanced tools, chemicals and procedures that leave those dreaded days of dental nightmares in the dust, where they belong!
Besides the obvious pain-alleviators, like Novocain, there now exists a range of sedatives that dentists commonly use to ensure that their patient's procedure is entirely pain-free. After all; while Novocain does indeed numb the mouth in preparation for having dental work done, some people suffer intense fear of the needle itself, and even claim that it hurts to get the shot in the first place. And, whereas before most sedatives were given to patients intravenously, by using orally-administered sedatives, the patient can be relaxed and less-worried before the local anesthetic is even applied.
By the use of short-term sedatives like Valium, and the old standard nitrous-oxide (AKA "laughing gas"), the patient can start any procedure out right by being relaxed and in the right frame of mind. However, for some people, the relatively new practice of "sleep-dentistry" is desirable. With this most modern form of anesthesiology, the patient is intravenously administered a serum that puts them in a state called "conscious sedation", in which they, although not technically unconscious or, indeed, asleep, enter a dream-like state that soothes and relaxes the patient to the point that they often don't even remember what happened in the dental chair at all!
So, you might be wondering; what type of sedation and pain-relief will your dentist prescribe? Well, that will, of course, depend on many things, including whether or not you take any other medication, and how sensitive or fearful you tend to be when undergoing dental procedures. For this reason it is important that you discuss thoroughly any mental of physical concerns you may have with your dentist so that he or she can make the most informed decision when it comes to choosing which method to use in order to insure that your dental experience as comfortable as possible.
Pain-free dentistry is indeed a modern day reality, and, when it comes down to it, the advantage is two-fold; the patient gets to experience much less discomfort and pain while in the dental chair, and the dentist is able to concentrate on their task at hand more efficiently and quickly, due to not having to deal with all those stressed-out, fearful patients of days gone by.