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Why Couldn’t My Dentist Get Me Numb?

Posted by ijaz

I recently had an issue at the dentist. I needed a pretty deep filling, but after eleven shots. ELEVEN! The dentist still couldn’t get me numb. He said he didn’t know what was going on and didn’t charge me for the appointment. The problem is I still have this tooth that needs to be filled. Do you have a recommendation? I’m in a lot of pain.


Dear Ben,

Man in pain grabbing his jaw

Yes, I think I can help you. Believe it or not, there is a connection between dental anxiety and the ability to get numb during a dental procedure. Not many dentists know the connection yet, which surprises me. What you need, in order to get numb, is some medication ahead of time that will relax you. Once you are relaxed, the numbing medicine will suddenly become much more effective.

I generally recommend starting with the lowest form of sedation in order to make your day easier to get on with. Nitrous oxide would be my first recommendation. It should relax you enough. Those with more severe anxieties would do better with oral conscious sedation. This is so strong though, that you will need someone to drive you to and from the dentist as well as stay with you until you are steady on your feet again. I would meet with your dentist and discuss your anxiety level before deciding.

Whatever you do, however, don’t put this off. You don’t want this to blow up into a full dental emergency. The sooner you get this dealt with the better. Just remember the good news. You can do this without anxiety and without pain if you see a sedation dentist.

This blog is brought to you by North Haven Dentist Dr. Ijaz.