Does dental treatment hurt?

If you have an upcoming dental procedure, you may have a lot on your mind. It’s common for patients to worry about the potential pain from dental or orthodontic treatment. Studies show that pain related to dentist visits keeps some patients from pursuing the necessary care. Maintaining oral health at every stage of life is vital, which is why our doctors are setting the record straight about painful orthodontic and dental work.

Will I feel pain during dental treatment?

In most cases, you can enjoy pain-free dental work. Instead of causing discomfort, most dental and orthodontic treatments relieve pain and prevent symptoms from worsening. For example, living with an infected tooth is far more painful than receiving a root canal to clear the infection. You’ll leave the office feeling better than when you came in.

The same goes for orthodontic treatment. Issues such as jaw misalignment cause discomfort and pain that worsens over time. Receiving professional orthodontic treatment will alleviate and prevent more pain than it causes.

How do dentists and orthodontists prevent pain?

Dentists and orthodontists use various techniques to keep you comfortable during your visit, even when you need emergency care. Some methods include:

  • Numbing gel: Dentists apply a gel containing lidocaine and prilocaine periodontal to the treatment area to numb the nearby nerves.
  • Topical injection: Dentists inject an anesthetic like lidocaine into the gum or cheek to numb the mouth.
  • Nitrous oxide: Dentists supply nitrous oxide through the airway, inducing relaxation and preventing a pain response.
  • Sedation: An anesthesiologist supplies numbing medication through an intravenous (IV) needle to a degree that leaves you awake but prevents pain during dental or orthodontic treatment.
  • General anesthesia: An anesthesiologist supplies medication through an IV to put you to sleep before intensive dental or orthodontic care.
  • Electronic numbing: The dentist or orthodontist uses a device that targets pain receptors with electrical pulses, preventing response.

Will I feel pain after treatment?

You may experience discomfort after some dental or orthodontic treatments. Post-treatment pain is most common after an oral surgery. The gums may exhibit swelling and inflammation that increases during the first two to three days after surgery. The pain will often subside after a few days.

Additionally, you may experience discomfort after receiving braces and other devices that realign the teeth and jaw. Orthodontic appliances apply constant pressure to shift the teeth and jaw into a straighter position. The pressure can cause aching.

Pain from dental and orthodontic procedures primarily occurs after the procedure, not during. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to manage your pain.

How to manage pain after dental and orthodontic treatments

Post-treatment pain management often consists of a few medical and non-medical tactics. Your dentist or orthodontist may prescribe pain relief medication or suggest over-the-counter options. You can also relieve pain by alternating hot and cold compresses on your jaw.

There are also methods your dentist or orthodontist can use during the procedure to alleviate pain after you leave. For example, they can apply electronic numbing that may last up to 48 hours after treatment. The prolonged numbing effect makes this option a popular choice for various types of orthodontic treatment, such as braces installation.

Receive comfortable orthodontic care from Hess Orthodontics

At Hess Orthodontics, we make it a point to ensure patient comfort during and after appointments. Our orthodontists use the Synapse Dental Pain Eraser, an electronic numbing device that uses Pulsewave™ technology to lull pain receptors for up to 48 hours after treatment, providing long-lasting pain relief.

We offer electronic numbing after many common orthodontic treatments, including Damon Braces, Invisalign® and professional teeth whitening. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our five West Coastal Florida offices in RiverviewLithiaParrishSarasota or Apollo Beach, or our Central Florida office in Winter Haven to discuss orthodontic treatment and pain management options.