With all the advances in pain control in modern day dentistry, it has just about become a thing of the past.

Anesthetics, strong medications that prevent pain, help patients avoid discomfort during particular procedures. These medications also relieve anxiety and continue to assist patients post-operatively as well.

There are some patients who might need a higher dosage of an anesthetic. That is often the case in children.

The types of pain-killing medications are listed below:

  • Analgesics - These are non-narcotic medications. Examples include ibuprofen or aspirin. These pain relievers are prescribed for mild cases of discomfort. They are commonly used following procedures like a root canal or tooth extraction.
  • Anesthetics - Anesthetics are versatile and can be applied topically, injected or swallowed. There are times dentists will apply topical anesthetics with a cotton swab to numb an area where a restoration is being performed. These anesthetics also are used to ease the pain of an injection. Novocaine and Lidocaine are the two most used injectable anesthetics. They block the nerves from transmitting signals. They are ideal for larger procedures, like fillings or root canals.
  • Sedatives - Sedatives main purpose is to help a patient relax. Sedatives can be used in combination with other types of pain relievers and painkillers. A popular and often used sedative is Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. With conscious sedation the patient is alert and awake. With Deep sedation or general anesthesia, the patient is in a state of monitored and controlled unconsciousness.

Here are common sedatives:

  • Intravenous (IV) sedation – This comes in the form of a tranquilizing agent; patients given IV sedation are often awake, but remain very relaxed.
  • Inhalation sedation – This form of sedation, like nitrous oxide, is inhaled and it is generally administered with a special mask.