Pain Management and Topical Anesthetics

Dental pain includes pain in any part of your mouth, teeth, jaw, palate, gums, roots, etc. The causes of this pain could vary from cavities in your teeth, gum infection, and improper bites to pain that may occur during or post a dental procedure.

Processes like implantation, tooth restoration, root canal, etc. may induce a lot of pain. Many bigger procedures involve the use of a syringe based anesthesia to prepare the area of work. The penetration of the syringe into the soft tissue of the mouth can also be a cause of pain for many.

Pain management

Pain management in dentistry is based on the type of pain one experiences.  The two types of pain include

The acute pain is only sensory and goes away with therapy or topical medication. However, chronic pain lasts longer and affects the nerve function as well.

Acute pain is largely associated with dental procedures which may include implant placement, tooth extraction, periodontal procedure, etc. Here, prepping the patient, use of topical anesthesia, assurance, and other behavioral techniques can be used to manage the pain. Most patients experience pain in their procedures due to anesthetic injections, which is why, topical anesthesia, is used to curb it.

Topical Anesthesia

Topical anesthesia is considered to be highly effective in controlling the pain of the injection used in a procedure. Thus, a topical anesthesia is expected to provide a deeper penetration through the mucosa so that it’ll be able to control the pain for a longer time. Because of this, the consistency of the medication becomes a very crucial.

The most popular topical anesthetics are gel based or paste based, made out of ingredients like viscous lidocaine and benzocaine. These compounds may contain about 7.5% to 20% anesthetic and are able to achieve the required numbness in about 3 minutes. The compound also has lesser solubility and repeated application won’t lead to any toxicity as it won’t mix with the cardiovascular system. However, the adverse reactions to this compound are slightly higher.

On the other hand, spray based topical anesthetics are capable of providing the tissue numbness under a minute. These sprays are made out of tetracaine and benzocaine.  Sprays also have an added advantage of reducing the area of contact when sprayed on a cotton swab, thereby reducing any potential reactions that a patient may have. But, the spray form gives it a higher solubility, and thus, increases its chance of mixing into cardiovascular system over repeated application.

Apart from numbing the area before a syringe is used, topical anesthesia can also be used for several other procedures. It is used to numb the area and reduce the pain during a tooth restoration procedure.

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