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What If Local Anesthetic from the Dentist Doesn’t Work?

Posted by AllSmiles

My 20-year-old daughter had a dental appointment last week, and the numbing shot did not work. Days before the appointment, she kept saying she was not looking forward to it. This is because getting her numb is always a problem, and we keep rescheduling her appointments. I wonder if we need to switch to another dentist. She doesn’t like needles anyway, but they keep giving her shot after shot, which doesn’t work. What do you suggest? Thanks! – Yvette

Yvette –

Thank you for contacting Radiant Smiles of Rocky Hill. Your daughter’s comments about not looking forward to her dental appointment and not getting numb suggest that she has dental anxiety.

What If Local Anesthetic from the Dentist Doesn’t Work?

If local anesthetic from the dentist does not work, it could be that the patient is unable to relax. Sometimes, a high level of anxiety blocks the effectiveness of Lidocaine. If your daughter’s anxiety level is exceptionally high, a dentist may be unsuccessful in numbing treatment areas without administering dental sedation.

Also, a dentist’s technique or the type of anesthetic may not work well for the patient.

How Does Dental Sedation Help Local Anesthesia Work?

Young woman resting in a hammock portraying how sedation dentistry helps you relax
Ask a dentist about sedation options if local anesthetic has not worked for you

Dental sedation helps local anesthesia work because it relaxes you and calms anxiety. Also, sedation minimizes your pain sensitivity. Even patients without dental anxiety benefit from sedation because they are so relaxed that a dentist can complete more work than without sedation.

Schedule a Consultation

We recommend scheduling a consultation with an experienced dentist who understands dental anxieties and offers sedation. Your daughter can explain the causes of her fear and what triggers it in a dental office. An attentive dental team will note your daughter’s triggers and work to avoid them during the appointment.

Other than dental anxiety, some rare medical conditions can minimize the effectiveness of local anesthesia. If you get a second opinion and the new dentist cannot resolve your daughter’s concerns, you can ask her medical doctor for advice.

Rocky Hill, Connecticut, dentist Dr. Thaddeus Michalski sponsors this post.