This Is Why You Have Trouble Getting Numb At The Dentist

This Is Why You Have Trouble Getting Numb At The Dentist

Why can’t you get and stay numb at the dentist?

Have you ever sat in the dentist’s chair while they attempt to freeze your teeth, dreading the moment they ask you if it’s frozen enough because you know it won’t be numb?

If you have trouble achieving adequate ‘numbness’ for routine dental procedures, you know how stressful it can be, not to mention painful. Luckily for most patients, there is usually some combination of anesthetic and technique that helps them feel frozen if they are having difficulty.

But you may still be wondering why it’s so hard for you to be numbed or why it wears off quicker than you’d like.

What kinds of things can affect my ability to feel numb at the dentist?

Taking too many vitamins

Your body’s acidity level – also known as your pH level – changes how anesthetics affect you. If you’re taking high levels of Vitamin C, for example, your body’s pH may be too acidic.

Solution: In order to get better results at your next dentist appointment, stop taking vitamins at least two days before.

Infections in the area

If you’re visiting the dentist for an infection, the pH in the area of the infection may be low and require additional anesthetic or a different method of delivering it. Your dentist may get you started on antibiotic therapy for a few days before proceeding with necessary treatment to help better balance your pH.

Solution: Get suspected problems checked out as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary discomfort, added expenses, and loss of time.

Grinding your teeth

If you grind or clench your teeth, your muscles may have a build-up of lactic acid. In this case, your pH is thrown off because of the accumulation of the lactic acid.

Solution: To attempt to reverse the effects, try chewing 4-6 regular TUMS tablets with lots of water the night before your appointment and the same amount the morning of. This changes your acidity level and allows dental freezing to work better.

Certain medical conditions

There is a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome that affects patients’ body tissue. It causes these patients to experience hypermobility, stretchy skin, and bruising easily.

Solution: If you have this condition, you may need additional anesthetic, more frequent doses, or even intravenous or general anesthesia for basic dental treatment.

Having red hair

If you have red hair, you may have more difficulty feeling ‘frozen’ at the dentist. The gene that causes red hair and fair skin is the reason that you may need additional anesthetic.

Solution: Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as dying your hair. You will likely need to ask for additional anesthetic

Why can’t I stay numb for the whole dental procedure?

If you find that the anesthesia wears off during your appointment, it is likely because of your metabolism being in high gear.

If you are nervous, have had significant caffeine or vigorous exercise, the freezing sensation may be very short lived. Limiting the amount of caffeine or physical activity on the day of your appointment should help significantly. If your nerves are the culprit, your dentist may be able to give you a mild oral sedative, or if you visit Dr. Stevens’s office, NuCalm is another effective choice.

How can I make sure that I’m numb enough at my next dental appointment?

If you want the best results after having difficulty in the past, the best thing you can do is speak to your dentist. They will address any concerns you may have and work with you to determine the best course of action.

Dr. Andrea Stevens has experience in helping patients like you having the best experience possible during their appointments.