Posted on: 17 February 2016Share
If you want beautiful teeth, then don't let dental fear get in the way of your goal. If you are like many adults with dental fear, then there may be two instruments that cause it – the anesthetic needles and the drills. While you may know that they won't really hurt you, when anxiety strikes, people often stop thinking logically. If you want dental work, but you are avoiding it due to this reason, then you will be happy to hear that many standard and cosmetic dentistry procedures can now be performed without a drill at all, and dental researchers are also working hard to find ways to numb patients' mouths before dental procedures without having to use anesthetic injections. Read on to find out what your options for drill-less dentistry are now and what may soon replace those anesthetic injections.
1. The New Alternatives to Dental Drills
Virtually any dental procedure that used to require a dental drill can now be performed using alternative instruments. These new instruments can be used by your dentist to prepare your teeth for simple fillings, perform root canals, and prep your teeth for veneers and bonding. Best of all, they perform these functions well and, in some cases, even better than the dental drill.
Two newer instruments that dentists can now use instead of the drill include:
1. Air abrasion machines. Air abrasion offers dentists a great way to remove tooth decay and prepare teeth for simple fillings without using a drill. This machine typically sits next to the dental chair, and it has a small hand-piece that your dentist uses to blow abrasive crystals, often made of aluminum oxide and/or baking soda, at tooth decay. The hand-piece has a tiny head that allows your dentist to blow the crystals precisely where they are needed to kind of "sand" away areas of tooth decay.
If you are familiar with skin micro-dermabrasion, then that can give you an idea of how this machine works. Not only is air abrasion effective, but even better, it is so painless that dentists can often skip the oral anesthetic completely before performing air abrasion on a tooth.
2. Lasers. With lasers being integrated into virtually every other type of medicine, it is natural that they are now used in dentistry. Not only can dentists use them instead of scalpels to perfect the soft tissues of your mouth, such as when repairing a receding gum line or helping you get rid of the extra gum tissue causing that "gummy" smile, but they are also now used on teeth. Lasers can be used instead of a drill to prepare a tooth for a root canal, to remove decay before a cavity filling, to help prepare teeth for veneers, or even re-shape teeth. Lasers are so safe and effective that they can even be used to prepare children's teeth for cavity fillings. Lasers also offer the extra benefit of killing germs naturally as they work and offer greater precision than a scalpel or drill, which can lead to a lower chance of infection or complications after some procedures.
2. New Local Anesthetic Method That May One Day Replace the Needle
Dentists currently always ensure that you don't experience pain during more extensive dental work by injecting local anesthetic into the nerve that transmits pain signals from the tooth your dentist is working on. While this injection, or sometimes several, is typically painless, many people simply hate the sight of needles or the slight tingle when the needle hits their gums. However, if the dentist were to skip these injections prior to dental work, the pain endured during many procedures would be much worse than the slight tingle of a tiny needle.
Dental researchers recently made a discovery that will please anyone who hates these needles. Since there are many drug-delivery patches that work well on the body to deliver medication into the bloodstream, they decided to try placing a small, anesthetic-fill patch on an animal-model to see if it could help deliver the drug deep enough to numb the tooth. To speed up absorption, since most transdermal drug delivery patches release medications very slowly, they transmitted a painless electrical current into the patch. This new method worked very successfully to numb the tooth, and while human tests are still needed and the method needs to be perfected, it is expected to one day be a great alternative for dentists to use on patients before performing dental work.
If you want beautiful teeth, then don't let your fear of needles and dental drills get in the way of you obtaining the basic dental care you need or the cosmetic dental procedures that would help you finally have a smile you love to show off. Find a dentist who uses lasers and/or air abrasion to replace the drill when possible to alleviate your fears. The emerging new dental anesthetic method is also something to look forward to in the future, once it becomes FDA-approved.
For more information on how your dentist can help alleviate your fears, contact a local dental clinic, such as Family Dentist.