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Is tooth numbing an all-or-nothing phenomenon?

  • Thread starter ImNotASpammerYouIdiots
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ImNotASpammerYouIdiots

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Can a cavity be drilled with only the low speed drill?

I'm convinced the high speed drill is part of the reason the local anesthetic never seemed to fully numb my teeth. Is it possible to do a cavity...say one that isn't overly deep...with just the low speed drill?
 
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ImNotASpammerYouIdiots

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Is tooth numbing an all-or-nothing phenomenon or is it on a continuum?

Because I have felt something at some pointfor every filling I've ever had done, and I don't mean pressure. And one of them was pretty deep, too. From what I've read, however, if I weren't numb, that one would have sent me through the roof with pain. But while uncomfortable in moments, it was bearable. So I must have been numb, I guess?

So I have always wondered exactly what successful "numbing" is. Is it where you can still feel how it would hurt without the local anesthesia, but it's dulled out a lot? Is that what the goal is?

That's also how the numbing gel for the injections has always worked for me. I can feel a dulled ache when the needle goes in, but it's not nearly as sharp as it would otherwise be.

I just think with having different dentists doing different fillings and always getting the same result, it's more likely that I just have unrealistic expectations for how "painless" the procedure can be.

But then people tell me that, based on my description of the sensations I occasionally felt during the drilling (it's a cold, boaring, bone aching kind of thing), I must not have been "completely numb," whatever that means.
 
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Steplimb

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I have had the same experience. The dentist will “numb” the area, come back and ask me can I feel it and I always can. However I’ve never had any actual pain with fillings, just discomfort.
 
Enarete

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Re: Is tooth numbing an all-or-nothing phenomenon or is it on a continuum?

So I have always wondered exactly what successful "numbing" is. Is it where you can still feel how it would hurt without the local anesthesia, but it's dulled out a lot? Is that what the goal is?
My understanding of numbing is to chemically shut off the nerves in the treated area so that they do not send any pain-impulses to your brain. If you still feel anything, there are nerves that didn't get 'covered' by the anesthetics for some reason. So more a continuum, but the aim should be to reach the point where you do not feel pain or discomfort.

Quite curious about the answer to the low speed drill question..

Here are some details about numbing/not getting numb: www.dentalfearcentral.org/fears/not-numb/
 
brit

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I'm convinced the high speed drill is part of the reason the local anesthetic never seemed to fully numb my teeth. Is it possible to do a cavity...say one that isn't overly deep...with just the low speed drill?
As Enarete and our link imply: if you are properly numb, it doesn't matter which drill is used, you will not feel any pain whatsoever.
 
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ImNotASpammerYouIdiots

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As Enarete and our link imply: if you are properly numb, it doesn't matter which drill is used, you will not feel any pain whatsoever.
I guess the problem is I'm not sure how to define "pain." I'm not sure what "tooth pain" is. I felt twinges of cold, gnawing sensations every now and then upon drilling, every time.
 
Enarete

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This is what makes me think that you weren't properly numb during your previous treatments: the sensation when you are numb is the same no matter what is getting done. It's just a constant numbness and you are not able to discern what is going on exactly. Anything that your dentist does feels dull in the same manner. If there are any changing sensations or something that comes and goes and even something that causes you discomfort, it indicates (in my understanding) that you weren't numbed properly.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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i agree with all was said before.

And I think alot of time in our anxiety it is easy to self doubt and not want to rock the boat or confront
you are indeed having pain so you take it . It is more conveniant for them you don't.. but they nor you want this..Never be afraid to speak up when you are feeling any discomfort or pain in treatment. You are worth having pain free work! :)..

I once had a dentist that did a root canal and I would raise my hand and tell him.. ouch, that hurts, and make noises to stop.. and he would say.. thats okay, it can hurt a but.. thats normal. IT IS NOT NORMAL. it hurt more than a bit. and I can tell you my dentist now stops at the slightest flinch and asks if all is ok and if I need more..
 
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Gordon

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Can a cavity be drilled with only the low speed drill?

I'm convinced the high speed drill is part of the reason the local anesthetic never seemed to fully numb my teeth. Is it possible to do a cavity...say one that isn't overly deep...with just the low speed drill?
Just noticed nobody answered this one. Basically yes, it can, but it'd take an awfully long time and you really wouldn't like it.
 
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ImNotASpammerYouIdiots

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Just noticed nobody answered this one. Basically yes, it can, but it'd take an awfully long time and you really wouldn't like it.
I would think I would like it more, since the low speed never gave me any uncomfortable sensations. I'll take an hour of comfortable drilling over 5 minutes of uncomfortable drilling.
 
Gordon

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But with the anaesthetics available to us nowadays, there's no reason why the 5 minute filling should hurt at all.
 
drhirst

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Hi ImNotASPammer

It sounds like you are one of those very unlucky people who are rather resistant to local anaesthetic. In most cases, a very experienced dentist should be able to get you fully numb by employing some special techniques.
As Gordon says it would take much longer to do the filling with the slow speed drill alone. However, an alternative might be to use the high speed to get through the hard surface and then switch to the slow speed for the rest. This might work with an unfilled tooth, removing existing metal fillings however would be extremely hard with a slow speed alone.
Another possibility is to seek out a dentist who has a special interest in root canals, they are very experienced in dealing with hard to numb teeth. Also, those like Gordon, who worked in special care services will be pretty experienced at getting people profoundly numb.

Best of luck

Lincoln
 
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