Dentists want to avoid causing pain to their patients — after all, they want the patients to come back. What are some of the techniques that a dentist may use to minimise pain and discomfort from the treatment?


A sedative is intended to relax a patient rather than to relieve pain. You may be offered a sedative if you are particularly anxious about your treatment. The most common sedative is nitrous oxide, which is also known as laughing gas. This will not put you to sleep but will relax you so that you will not be worried about the treatment.

Local anaesthetic

This is the most commonly used anaesthetic in dental treatment. It is injected into your gum or inner cheek and works by numbing the area that is to be treated. These injections are highly effective, and you should not be able to feel any pain during the treatment. You should also not feel pain from the injection itself.

The effects can last for several hours, and you are likely to still feel numb when you leave the surgery. This can make it difficult for you to move the affected part of your mouth, and you may have difficulty eating or talking. This will wear off very quickly. You should be careful that you do not accidentally bite yourself in the numbed area, as you may not realise that you have hurt yourself.

General anaesthetic

A general anaesthetic is much less common than a local anaesthetic, and it is typically only used for more complicated procedures, such as wisdom teeth removal. However, it can also be used if the patient is extremely anxious or suffering from trauma. A general anaesthetic will put you to sleep for several hours, and you will be completely unaware of anything that takes place while you are under the influence. It will be administered by a qualified anaesthetist who will ensure that no problems arise.

Your dentist will assess your health before any anaesthetic and make sure you do not have any allergies or are using other medications that could affect the outcome. So if you need dental treatment but are worried about any discomfort, you can rest assured that your dentist has an array of techniques to ensure the procedure causes you no pain. Just be sure to discuss your options with your dentist, and you can look forward to a pain-free treatment.