Wednesday, May 15, 2013

No Pain, No Gain???

Last week, at the dentist, I ended up needing to have a couple of old small fillings replaced. 

Credit: ponsulak, stock photo contrubutor/ found at

I have never needed any major dental work of any kind.  However, when I have needed small fillings over the years, I must admit that the worst part for me was definitely the left over numb feeling from the anesthesia.  I would invariably end up turning my cheek into hamburger and couldn't eat at all for the remainder of the day as the numbness would spread into my throat and all the way into my eyes.

For years I had a fabulous dentist that did the most beautiful work and was so nice.  He held the belief that there is no reason to lose your teeth to poor dental care, no matter how old you are.  I referred many friends who did need significant work done and they were so thankful that I had sent them.  However,  there was always this problem for me with the leftover numb feeling that would drive me insane, cause me to be unable to work the rest of the day and give me a mouth full of pain that lasted for more than a week from all the chewing I ended up doing to my over numb mouth.  No matter what I said about it, the dentist would never offer to do anything about this problem. Since he was so good and I rarely needed anything done, I just chose to live with it.

A couple of years ago that wonderful dentist retired.  He found a replacement that came highly regarded.  I have to admit though that I was skeptical about having someone new work on my teeth as I have heard so many dental horror stories.  But the other day I had no choice; it was time to try out the skills of the new dentist. 

I decided that I would 'bite the bullet' and hit this guy up with my over-numbness issue.  I figured if I gave him the true test of my worst issue right off the bat, then that would tell me a lot about this guy.  I laid it out there that I would actually prefer a little pain during the procedure than to have to put up with the awful problems I have with all the numbness.

To my surprise, the dentist offered to let me have a short acting anesthesia and to use about half as much as he usually would.  He told me that some people choose to forgo anesthesia altogether.  So here was my chance.  I was going to have to put my money where my mouth was!

And I did.  I took him up on the offer and I went with very little anesthesia.  My fillings were small and I only felt some real sensitivity in one area.  I still got numb all the way into my eyes, but it didn't last long.  In fact, by the time I left the office my numbness was almost completely gone!  I did also notice a little soreness in the two areas where the work was done for several hours after, but that was nothing compared to the damage I would have done to my mouth had I been so darn numb. 

It turned out to be the perfect trade off for me.  I will absolutely choose this option again, when needed.

What about you?  Do you ever choose short term pain over a more long term annoyance?  Have you ever had dental work without anesthesia?


  1. I just about always did. It really doesn't hurt but I think it's the vibration of the drill that makes one think it's hurting. I haven't had any cavities in a long time,
    Congrats on your new way of painless dentistry.

  2. I had a dentist who was always trying to save me money, so he'd bring up not using any anesthesia when the situation warranted it. I took his advice and every time, he was right. No pain and no after numbness.

    It can be a bit worrisome, at first, but afterwards it's totally worth it.

  3. That is great. I don't have problems with getting overly numb. The last time I went to the dentist I needed to have a filling replaced. I took a little shot. It was one of those dratted ones on the side of the tooth (actually in between teeth). My dentist had a devil of a time getting it done. She actually had to shift my tooth in my mouth in order to get it. It hurt like crazy. But, I didn't want to be more numb than I was, so I sucked it up. Heck, I live with a migraine every day. I told her to Bring It. She was shocked. She said most of her patients were Big Babies. I told her that most of her patients had lived with a Chronic Migraine every day for the last ten years. I am with you: less is more.

  4. Make that "had not lived with a Chronic Migraine..."

    I really should proof read.

    1. I got what you were saying...
      Of course I should have known you would be a tough one with a high threshold for pain!

  5. Replies
    1. Does this mean that you don't recommend that I try this on a tooth that didn't already have a filling in it??? They aren't teeth with dead nerves; just teeth that already had small fillings in them.

  6. How fortunate for you that you have good teeth! I'm a little envious.

    No matter how well I care for my teeth, it's an uphill battle. I've lost a lot of teeth to severe periodontal disease, and have extremely exposed roots that can be painful. It's difficult for the dentist to get me numb for anything. And sometimes he thinks it's ready, but we get "surprised" anyway. Twice, when having teeth extracted, we discovered it was NOT numb, even after he had checked. Um... can we say OUCH?!! There was nothing really he could do but to just finish pulling it. A few tears and it was all over. sigh...
    You have a mouth you can be thankful for. :-D

    1. Oh Retta, that sounds like a terrible experience! I hope you don't have to do any more major dental work in the future.
      Otherwise I will have to send my extra numbness your way!


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