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Article: Plenty of Dental Procedures Do Not Require a Needle DR. JERRY GORDON
Plenty of Dental Procedures Do Not Require a Needle

Some people avoid dental care because they are afraid of the needle used to numb the tooth, or they do not like the feeling of being numb (local anesthesia) for several hours after the procedure is completed. Even though most surgical dental procedures require the needle to numb the area, there are many treatments that do not. Here are some needle-free dental procedures:

Preparing and filling shallow cavities: Shallow cavities can often be filled without being numb because they are far enough away from the center of the tooth where the nerve is located. Dental lasers and air abrasion can also facilitate doing these cavities needle-free.

Repairing chipped teeth: Sometimes there is no decay and the tooth needs minimum preparation to fix it. These are ideal situations for white fillings (also called bonding) and no local anesthesia. Smoothing rough or chipped teeth Some crown (also cap) preparations: If a tooth has had root canal, it is sometimes possible to prepare a crown without numbing the area because the tooth does not have a nerve anymore.

Fitting a crown: In most cases, a temporary crown can be removed and the permanent crown can be adjusted and cemented onto a tooth without being numb.

Post placement: After a root canal is completed, it is often necessary to place a titanium post in the root. In most cases, because the nerve is gone, a post can be done without the shot.

Full and Partial Dentures (including adjustments) Traditional Braces and Invisalign Tooth whitening procedures: Both in-office and at-home tooth

Cosmetic shaping of the teeth

Impressions: An impression is a mold of your mouth. These are used for a variety of procedures including dentures, crowns, permanent bridges, mouth guards, and tooth whitening.

Dental cleanings

Deep cleaning of the gums: People who have gum disease can often receive deep cleaning of the gums with the use of a strong topical gel called Oraqix and good technique by the dental hygienist.

The decision of when a procedure requires local anesthesia is ultimately up to your dentist. You can also talk to your dentist about how you feel about being numb for certain procedures and what your preferences are. You and your dentist can then work together to have the treatment you need performed in the most comfortable way possible.

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Dr. Gordon is the dental columnist for the Bucks County Courier Times. He has published more than 300 articles since 1998. Dr. Gordon was recently asked to provide commentary about mid-level providers for the influential dental journal Dental Abstracts.

Dr. Gordon responds to an article in Dental Abstracts challenging his views.

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