Can cavities be filled without numbing shots?

M

morningleaf

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I have two cavities that need filled in a couple of days. I don't think they are very big, because I go to the dentist every six months, and I'm hoping that they can be done without the numbing shot, because I am terrified of needles. How likely is it that I won't have to have the shot?
 
Steve In Cleveland

Steve In Cleveland

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I'm so sorry, morningleaf. Getting cavities filled should be a quick and painless process, but having phobia can really turn it into a nightmare.

I can tell you, as a fellow phobic, that getting cavities filled really is completely painless and quick. Completely. That might not help the panic, but it's completely true, from someone who's been through a lot of work.

It's probably not likely that you can get fillings done without any numbing. BUT, if you tell your dentist about your fear of needles, he can be extra careful and deliver the anesthetic very gently and without any pain. What they do is apply a little gel to the gums and let it sit for a minute, so you won't feel the needle at all. At all. Most dentists also have some techniques for keeping you distracted while they give the shot. Lots of people have this fear, so dentists are really good at helping people get through it. I also advise looking up or off to the left so you never have to see any tools. If it helps to bring a teddy bear or other comfort object to squeeze on, then do that. Seriously, lots of people do this.

The truth is, the whole process of getting numb only takes a few seconds, and you shouldn't feel it at all. But I also completely understand how horrifying those few seconds can be.

Good luck, and let us know how you do. I'm sure you'll do fine.
 
kitkat

kitkat

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I personally would not recommend an attempt at filling teeth without anesthetic however, my fear is of the drill not of needles. If the filling is extremely, extremely shallow and just on the surface sometimes, the dentist will be willing to attempt it without anesthetic upon patient request. So you can definitely ask them and can always stop and opt for the local anesthesia if it gets to be too much. The dentist may or may not be willing to try depending on how deep the fillings are and I think overall, you would have a much more guaranteed positive experience if you opt for the numbing because it will ensure a painless procedure but it's up to you and what you think you need to get through it. Every person is different. I would never attempt a filling without numbing ever and yet my sister insists on trying it without because she is convinced that the needle is more painful than any of the pain that could be caused by drilling. Yet we went to the same dentists growing up! :dunno:

Best of luck! :clover:
 
X

xo_vw

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Not sure if you have gone in yet but I would not recommend a filling without anesthetic!

There is virtually no pain from the needle - maybe a slight pinprick as if you had quickly bitten your cheek (not hard).

I once had a filling where the anesthetic wore off halfway through, it is not a feeling I would like to experience again! Imagine the sound of nails on a chalkboard and the resulting cringing/uneasy feeling and that is what it feels like. There is no pain, but it is a very, very, very uncomfortable sensation because they are drilling bone inside your head. Again, let me emphasize that it didn't hurt but it is a very disconcerting feeling and I ended up biting the dentists hand. Oops!
 
N

No Numbness

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Because I have trouble with injections, I have had superficial cavities filled using only the gel for numbness. This worked for me, but be aware that there's a reason why an injection is usually used. If the dentist is just drilling the surface of the tooth, you probably won't feel pain, but you will feel more vibration than you would with an injection. And it's hard to predict how deep you can go without hitting nerves. If the dentist goes too deep, you get a really intense, shooting pain without warning.

I guess what I would say is, if your dentist is willing to try this and you understand the tradeoffs, go for it. Agree on a signal to stop immediately, and be prepared to have an injection if the dentist can't remove all of the decay.
 
T

Tink

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And it's hard to predict how deep you can go without hitting nerves. If the dentist goes too deep, you get a really intense, shooting pain without warning.

Sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with this as I think it can actually add to the fear for many people and it's not accurate. Sometimes people think that the dentist has hit the nerve (maybe by touching a sensitive part of the tooth for the first time?) but that's not what's actually going on.

I have trouble with anaesthetic failure sometimes, and have spent a few fillings gripping the chair waiting for the dentist to "hit the nerve" and this to happen.

The thing is, it doesn't physically work that way, because of the anatomy of your teeth - the nerve is buried deep inside the tooth, in an entirely predictable location. Take a look at one of those diagrams of the structure of a tooth. My dentist actually stopped and explained this to me because he could tell that that was what I was terrified of.

What actually happens (without anaesthetic!) is that the closer the drilling is to the pulp at the centre of the tooth with the nerve in, the more you can feel it - so for a very deep filling there could be a gradual build up of sensation during the process of drilling, but not a sudden jump. Note that unless they are doing root canal, they will not be actually touching the nerve at all, it's buried deep inside the tooth and a regular filling won't reach it. I'm pretty sure that if they do hit the nerve, they've killed the tooth and would then have to do root canal. For any minimally competent dentist, the location of the nerve is not hard to predict at all. They know what they're doing, they really do!

This is the reason why very, very shallow fillings right at the surface of the tooth can sometimes be done without anaesthetic as kitkat says, as they are far away from the nerve, but deeper ones can't be. I would not at all recommend having a filling without anaesthetic unless it's really superficial.

The good news though, is that there are lots of ways for the dentist to make the process of anaesthetic injections less uncomfortable for you, and once it's successfully done you will be completely numb, and all of those sensations that people are describing here just will not happen. Having a large filling with anaesthetic is about a hundred times easier than having it without!


Morningleaf, from the date of your post it looks like your fillings already happened - I hope you got on OK in the end! Let us know :XXLhug:

I'll post this stuff I've typed anyway, as others browsing may find it useful. If any of the dentists happen to be passing by, it would be nice to have some input from them on this as I'm posting as a lay person (/complete idiot!) and I think a more informed view would be reassuring!
 
S

shadowsilk

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I have two cavities that need filled in a couple of days. I don't think they are very big, because I go to the dentist every six months, and I'm hoping that they can be done without the numbing shot, because I am terrified of needles. How likely is it that I won't have to have the shot?
Best thing to do, is call and ask if there is an alternative.
They will probably do xrays to see how deep the cavity is too.
(don't worry no needles for the xrays).. Maybe if they aren't too bad they can help you have an alternative method like topical freezing?
 
chickenjen

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I agree with everything that's been said so far.
I have had shallow, superficial cavities filled with no anesthetic. Some dentist offices use a laser to do the minor cavities, so there's no drilling sound and no need for anesthetic.
But, if your dentist is recommending local anesthesia, it would be a wise choice to take it.
Make sure they use the numbing gel and let it set for a few minutes. If the dentist does the injection SLOW enough, there shouldn't be any discomfort at all, except for the little pin prick sensation at the start of the injection.
My dentist warns me he's coming, I close my eyes and if there's any discomfort I moan (he goes slower)and the injection is over. My dentist has filled SO many teeth of mine that he NOW knows how slow to give the injection without causing me a moment's discomfort.
Hope it all went well for you!!!
:XXLhug:'s!!!!!!!!
 
G

griffinej5

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I've had it done years ago, due to fear of the needle, and they tried giving me gas which didn't work. I've also had it wear off midway through and tried to tough it out. I'd not highly recommend this. Depending on where it is I can tough it out for a bit, and I will try to convince myself that I am not feeling pain, rather I believe I feel pain because I hear sounds associated with pain. It only works until I really feel it a lot.
 
N

NETWizz

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You NEED to be numbed; trust me.

Before I found my current dentist, over two years ago I had block anesthesia done for the bottom and some infiltration (gum shots) done on the top.

Anyway, as they were drilling the top, I was totally relaxed, but the HOT air from the drill felt funny and my bottom tooth like a little sensitive.

I asked the dentist, "Did you just drill the bottom one?" and he said, "NO, that was the top one" :jump:

When you have NO idea whatsoever, what tooth is being drilled, that is profound anesthesia.


**************************

Then he got to that bottom one, a deep cavity near the pump, and damned if he isn't the fastest driller ever. He sunk that drill in and on a scale of 1 to 10 the pain was probably around a 25. It literally felt like a BAD electric shock and took a couple minutes after the drill stopped for the aching to subside...

He gave me more anesthesia for that tooth... and at this time, my heart was just pounding with anxiety when he came back at me with that drill. :o Thank GOD the tooth was numb this time; I about passed out from the relief of anxiety.

When I was done, I was covered in cold sweat and all clammy.


About three or four days later, I would occasionally think about it and just cringe. It is like mixing an electric shock, with nails on a chalkboard, and a toothache all in the same tooth at the same time. Just the memory of this pain hurt.

I have broken bones that were maybe only 33% as bad.



Moral of the story, take the shots.
 
L

lawlcano

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I wouldn't personally recommend fillings without numbing, but ONE time when I was 15 I had this done.

For some reason I was NOT feeling the shot this time around, and I asked my dentist if I could get it done with no shot.

He assessed the cavity and told me he thought it was shallow enough that I could do it without any numbing.

Keep in mind, this was the dentist I had gone to since I was a toddler. I had all the trust in the world in this man.

He told me if I had ANY pain or problem, to signal and he would immediately stop. He was absolutely emphatic about this point.

He proceeded to do the filling. This was 17 years ago. I remember having one or two moments or sensitivity/mild pain. But the procedure went off without a hitch. My one and only filling without being numbed for the process. And I had many fillings as a child/teen, I didn't have the best dental hygiene habits growing up.

Cut to today: I'm going in later today for my 2nd cleaning (last one was last week), and then I have 3 different appointments' worth of fillings. 9 fillings total.

You can do this! After all my childhood dental work, I keep telling myself "dude, KIDS get this done every day. I had it done over and over AS a kid"! I always dreaded the dentist, but the dread NEVER lives up to the reality. It's a mundane procedure as far as the dentist is concerned!
 
B

Bostonian

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I have two cavities that need filled in a couple of days. I don't think they are very big, because I go to the dentist every six months, and I'm hoping that they can be done without the numbing shot, because I am terrified of needles. How likely is it that I won't have to have the shot?


I may be coming a bit late to this party, but I want to say that it is absolutely possible to skip the numbing shot.

I stumbled on this by accident when my dentist, prior to filling a cavity, asked if I wanted to be numbed or not. I said, what, there's a choice? He said sure, this one isn't very deep, the drill won't be close to the nerve so it shouldn't hurt much if at all.. I said heck yes. There was literally no pain. To me, the sensation is one of cold, which I'm told is due to the cold water being put on the tooth and the suction. Leaving aside the *emotional* part of it ie. fear of needles versus drills (since each person is different) I can say that for me the physical pain of the needle prick is greater than discomfort of the drill.

Since this initial experience about two decades ago, I've had a handful of cavities filled by a variety of dentists--each time without numbing. My current dentist was initially skeptical, but I told her, no, really, it's fine as long as you aren't drilling very close to the nerve. And each time I was thrilled with my decision--I avoided the icky needle prick, saved ten minutes (the time for the shot to take effect) and left the office with a normal, non-numb mouth!

I can't speak for everyone. Each person's body processes sensation differently. So I'm just one person. However, the best way I can explain it is this....ever have a tooth that was sensitive to cold? So if you drank a glass of ice water, you jump out of your chair? By contrast, have you ever had a tooth that was slightly sensitive to cold i.e.. you notice it when drinking cold stuff but it was just a little momentary annoyance and not a big deal. That is how I perceive the dental drill. On the other hand, I perceive the needle as a really annoying pinch. So for me, the choice is very clear.
 
M

mojopearl

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It is possible to have a toot filled without an injection. For small ones you will feel hardly anything for large fillings it will hurt!
I had fillings done lots of times without an injection but I do remember a very painful occurrences with a deep one.
 
W

wolfs42

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I have two cavities that need filled in a couple of days. I don't think they are very big, because I go to the dentist every six months, and I'm hoping that they can be done without the numbing shot, because I am terrified of needles. How likely is it that I won't have to have the shot?

If they aren't deep just tell them.
I just got mine filled and I have a needle phobia and I told them. They checked my cavities to see how deep they were and I didn't get the shot! But just a warning the drill they use shoots air into your tooth for cleaning and the air will give brain freeze feelings for a quick moment. Ask them to talk you through it and make sure you have a signal for stop. I didn't have to use to signal but it's good to have it.
 
G

Godmother1

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I've just had a small filling done without an injection and it was fine but it was really small. I had two teeth extracted about three months ago and fillings in my front teeth. I don't like needles but he put the numbing gel on my gums first and talked to me to distract me. I was dreading the ones for the front teeth but it was painless. After checking if I was numb enough I had some slight feeling so he just topped it up. He also did them quite slowly which may seem worse but he said it's better and feels less tight which was true. I had a mouth that felt huge and like it was stuffed with cotton wool for a while but the extractions were honestly pain free although one was a little difficult. The fillings to the front teeth were fine too. I don't like to see the needle coming so I close my eyes tight but he explained everything as he went along. I'm sure you can do this and it gives you so much power afterwards when you do something that has scared you. Good luck:clover:
 
E

everyonessidekick

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Oct 27, 2017
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I have two cavities that need filled in a couple of days. I don't think they are very big, because I go to the dentist every six months, and I'm hoping that they can be done without the numbing shot, because I am terrified of needles. How likely is it that I won't have to have the shot?

I know that it's been several years since anyone's posted anything on this thread, but for anyone (like me) who's just found this thread on Google, I just got four fillings done without anesthetic today and it's Totally Doable.
I did feel pain, but it wasn't anything worse than what I'd felt while having the cavity. I just put in earbuds, listened to music, and focused on keeping my breathing slow and even (WAY more helpful and important than it sounds).
It's probably easier to get them filled with anesthetic, but if you don't want to, you can do it without.
 
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