The Pain-Free Dental Visit

Your dental visit should not be painful. After all, our business is to make you smile! It’s 2010 – we have come a long way with our new technology and spa environment. No longer should you fear the dentist, instead, you should be aware that you are doing something good for you by taking control of your dental health.

Posted on | Jonathan B. Levine, DMD | Comments ()

Your dental visit should not be painful.  After all, our business is to make you smile! It’s 2010 – we have come a long way with our new technology and spa environment. No longer should you fear the dentist, instead, you should be aware that you are doing something good for you by taking control of your dental health. 

Know your dentist; let him know you. Trust your dentist, and he will trust you.

Here is some information and what you need to know before heading to the dentist, and to manage your expectations. Consider this your cheat sheet:

The Cleaning

Fear no more, your dental cleaning is a good thing!

There is no need to sit in pain; topical anesthetics and the new numbing agents today are applied to ease any pain or discomfort. They work when they are used! Even a challenging cleaning should not hurt while it is being done.

If you find you're wincing every thirty seconds or you are bleeding more than a little, the dental hygienist may be cleaning too aggressively. Speak up. Do not just sit there. It's possible the hygienist is going too deep and removing your inner LINING of the gum inadvertently - but do not be alarmed, it is not a permanent problem. And you simply may need more anesthetic.

The best way to address the problem is by speaking to the hygienist directly. Ask, "Why is this hurting so much?" "Are my gums inflamed?"  They will work with you to not be in pain. Your hygienist’s job is to catch your problems early. But you must be in their chair for that to happen. Too bad you cannot “FEDEX” your teeth to the office, right?

The hygienist will find the plaque that you've missed; they will remove calculous and any bacteria that have built up on the tooth surface which can cause the gum tissue to be inflamed.  This should not hurt with the proper topical ANESTHETIC and numbing agents. If you have not been flossing, you can be sure the cleaning will be a more challenging one. So always remember to floss.

Be sure to get a cleaning done at your dentist office 2 times a year, and if you are pregnant or have had extensive dental work perhaps 3 x a year would be best. The hygienist should take checkup x-rays once a year to be sure there are no PROBLEMS brewing in your mouth.

Gain the knowledge you need to ensure your mouth is healthy

The Cavity

The drill.  The noise. The pain.  No more!

Bad news; you have a cavity. The good news today, cavities can be filled quickly and with little to no pain.  Cavities are caused by bacteria (aka plaque.) They are also caused by the obvious factor, sugar.  The most important tip is to not forget to brush, floss, and eat a healthy diet, it helps prevent cavities.

Today, with the development of high-speed electric quiet drills, dentists also make it a point to provide noise reducing and relaxing headphones, the option to listen to music or even watch TV. They also have hard tissue lasers that make drilling pain free.


When it’s more than a cavity and a basic cleaning it’s time to visit the specialist. They are specially trained with new technology so that you will have a very successful outcome.  Ideally, your dentist can recommend a good specialist. Here is a list of the specialists you need to know:

When you need a root canal, you need to see an endodontist. An endodontist is SPECIALLY trained in diagnosing and treating problems associated with the inside of the tooth. 

When your teeth need to be repositioned and moved - you need to see a orthodontist - an orthodontist examines, diagnoses, and treats irregularities of tooth position and malrelations of jaws. If you or your child needs braces, you should seek an orthodontist.

When you have gum disease and your teeth are breaking down, you need to see a periodontist. If you have areas in your mouth that show symptoms of the supporting structure of the teeth breaking down, your dentist will send you to a periodontist who will examine, diagnose, and treat the manifestations of gum problems as well as heal any problems with the supporting structure of the teeth.

When you need to have teeth extracted you need to see an oral surgeon - the oral surgeon takes care of any surgical needs. Under this umbrella are biopsies and removing anything pathological in the mouth.

When you are getting a brand new smile you will be seen by a prosthodontist. If you're contemplating restorative dentistry, changing old fillings, or sensitivities in the mouth, the super-restorative dentist is the prosthodontist, specifically trained in the form and the function of the teeth, and restoring them.

With these tools, the perfect dental visit will be pain free!

Blog written by Jonathan B. Levine, DMD
Dr. Jonathan B. Levine is a world-renowned dentist and prosthodontist recognized as an authority on restorative dentistry. He's...