I have an eleven-year-old daughter who developed a tooth infection. The dentist gave her Novocain but it didn’t work. She was in agony. I eventually had to stop the procedure because I couldn’t stand the pain she was in. I was also a little distressed that the dentist didn’t even seem to care about what she was enduring. I am going to switch pediatric dentists, for obvious reasons, however I still have to deal with my daughter’s infection. Do you know why the Novocain didn’t work? If so, is there a way to get her numb?
I am so sorry both you and your daughter had to experience that. I do believe I know what happened with the Novocain and know what will help. I can tell you are a kind and caring mother, so you will know that the infection will have to be dealt with before it has a chance to spread. These type of issues are considered a dental emergency. The first thing I would do is ask for an antibiotic to help hold off the infection briefly while you find the dentist you need to handle this. It is a short, temporary solution. Tooth infections are not treated by antibiotics, they are just held at bay for a period. The only way to get rid of the infection is for a dentist to physically remove the infected tissue.
Many dentists are not yet aware that there is a connection between dental anxiety and numbing medication. While we don’t understand why, we do know that higher a person’s anxiety the less effective the numbing medication is. The solution is to help bring down her anxiety before the procedure. The best way to do that is to see a pediatric dentist who offers dental sedation options.
There are different levels of sedation. Nitrous oxide is the lowest. However, given her recent experience, I think you need to find a dentist who offers oral conscious sedation. This is much stronger and is often called sleep dentistry. She will be quite loopy so you’ll want to keep an eye on her for a few hours after the procedure. It is perfectly safe and she will wake up with her procedure done.
Then, for the next few procedures she can use the nitrous oxide. This helps relax her and she will very likely fall asleep, but she will not be loopy when the procedure is over. With this sedation they will switch the gas back to oxygen and she’ll be back to normal in a few moments.
Hopefully, a few good procedures will enable her fear and anxiety to become controlled by her instead of medication.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. John Weaver.