Dentist Questions Dental Surgery (Oral Surgery)

Do I have to be numb?

I don't like getting the numbing shots before a dental procedure. How much would it hurt to go without numbing for basic things like fillings?

25 Answers

The pain threshold is different for different people. The dentine of the tooth is the sensitive hard part of your tooth. If the cavity is already in the dentine, then it will become sensitive and painful very quickly. Even more so, the closer your get to the pulp (nerve) of the tooth. If the cavity is small and still in the enamel of the tooth then the filling can be done without anaesthesia.
You don't have to be just have to deal with pain. The amount of pain has to do with which deep decay is...and your tolerance. Most people want to avoid any pain but I have patients who don't get numb for fillings.
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Depending on the procedure and general sensitivity of your teeth, it may be possible to be treated without being numb. My suggestion would to perhaps try the procedure without being numb while treatment is being started gently and slowly. If you begin to start feeling sensitive then numbing may be necessary.
It depends on how deep the filling is. Every one has a different pain tolerance. Usually when a filling is done they tend to be a bit deeper and go into the inner layer of the tooth where there is a connection to the nerve/pulp in the tooth. You can surely ask your dentist if the filling you have done requires anesthesia.
Lara Bacchelli
Not ALL fillings need local anesthesia (numbing with an injection).
When the fillings are small or not deep within the tooth,
fillings can be done without being numbed. In the event one
needs it, new dental materials (topical anesthesia) and technique
have tremendously reduced the pain of an injection to very minimal.
Many times patients don't even know that they already have
received the injections. So please do not let this common misconception
keeping you away from necessary dental treatments. Good luck!
That is completely dependent on each individuals pain thresholds and the
size of the fillings needed. ​
This depends entirely on the location and extent of tooth decay, method of removing the decay (laser or rotary instrumentation), and your tolerance to pain. Some teeth can be restored without using local anesthesia, but most require it due to the factors listed above.
It really depends on multiple factors like age, depth of decay, and your
pain threshold level. Older patients don't feel the pain as much because
the nerve in the tooth is far away from the surface of the tooth, and
therefore, you should not feel the pain as much. If your cavity extends to
the first part of dentin only, then you will only feel sensitivity when
your dentist is drilling your decay. But if extends beyond that, then local
anesthesia is recommended. Last, if you have a high pain threshold (the
point at which pain begins to be felt), then you should not feel the pain
as much. Hope that helps!
Numbing actually is not an unpleasent experience in our office, I place a cream, on the tissue, before the anesthesia is applied, this cream is very profound, prescription strength, mint or grape flavored, you would not even feel or know if you got an injection or not.
(not the topical anesthetic used by majority of dentists)
You should be very comfortable during the entire procidure, depending on the size of the filling and the amount of the work required to be done. You need an excellent job with minimal or no discomfort. If the filling is tiny and can be done without numbing, why not ? But if the filling can last for many more years, would still look like new, if both, you and the dentist are relaxed, by you being numb, you should be numb then. I hope this answered your question.
No. There doesn't have to be any anesthesia at all.
I understand getting numbing shots is no fun, especially in the mouth, but the dentin and the dej (dental enamal junction) can be very sensitive. A few peoples teeth-usually older adults are not that sensitive and I have done some fillings without anesthesia. It could twinge or you could almost jump out of the chair. Its almost worth it to have the pinch of the needle than to have the drill hit a sensitive nerve area.
its a patient preference,
but proper procedure cannot be done without anesthesia
it does not hurt the procedure yet you may have considerable discomfort during the process. If you cannot hold very still during the appointment, then you are making it more difficult for your dentist to do an excellent job. We are now using a laser in our office for simpler restorations and the need for anesthetic is greatly reduced.
In days gone by local anesthetics or sometimes not necessary because the drills operated without air turbines and I were belt-driven much slower. This generated much less air particles and Heat from cutting to structure and hand instrumentation was often used once access was obtained to the base decay in the softer area in the tooth itself. Making the patient comfortable during tedious procedures like cutting preparations in tooth structure are very tedious required steps to ensure the patient gets the best restoration possible. This requires sufficient anesthesia to accomplish and gives the patient a more relaxed demeanor with with a psychologically less tense environment for both the patient and the doctor.
There is tremendous variability between people on this. Some people can have fillings done and hardly flinch, others will be in pain. Most people will be much more comfortable if they are numb. I have had patients fall asleep with only local anesthetic while having work done because they are comfortable and don't feel like they have to hold onto the chair while treatment is being done. Being numb is also a bit of a safety factor because you might not be bothered too much while most work is being done, but there might be a surprisingly sensitive spot where you might jump at a delicate point in the procedure causing damage to be done. If your problem is that you don't like the injection, have your dentist use a topical anesthetic before the shot. It's really worth it!
Many fillings can be fixed without pain and no numbing is needed but if facing a procedure which will hurt it is way smarter to get numb. It can be done very gently. I know where you are coming from, I always have despised "needles" and as a kid I always had my dad fix my teeth without numbing. It was a much more tolerable experience once I gave up and got numb , no more fear of something hurting. Hope this helped. Dr Thomas Reinhard
It depends on how much drilling is involved. In some cases if the decay is only in the enamel, it doesn't hurt to remove it. If the decay is deeper which requires more drilling, it can be uncomfortable. Topical anesthesia prior to injection can be helpful. The technique of injection can also play an important role. I have been told numerous times that my shots don't hurt much.
Teeth only need fillings when the decay gets into the dentin or second layer of your tooth. The dentin layer has nerve fibers and causes pain when worked on. Numbing is needed in this case. However, if the decay does not go that deep, the tooth usually only needs a painted on sealant, no drilling needed, to seal and fix the problem. For treatment of this problem or to meet your other dental needs, call the dental office of Dr. Brad Emery, Dr. Nicholas Emery and Dr. Carol Scuro, at 585-247-7110. Or check out our website at
I prefer in my practice not to numb patients with understanding that I work very gently and slowly. the issue of getting numb prior to dental work depends on your pain trash hold, the depth of the cavity, your medical condition and most of all mutual respect and trust between you and your dentist. As a dentist who hates needle personally I have learned to listen and respect my patient's concerns and fears of dentistry. if you can trust your dentist listen to his advise about getting numb based on your treatment.
The discomfort depends on how big is the cavity. You can always try it without freezing and if it bothers you, then they can freeze you.
That depends on the size of your cavity and the skill of your dentist. Many dentists are surprised to know that not all patients need to be numbed to do basic dental procedures. In my practice, I have gone entire days without numbing patients and they have felt no pain at all. If a cavity is shallow or if you are replacing an old filling and the dentist is careful not to bare down into the tooth, you usually will feel no pain. Not many dentists practice this though as most numb patients automatically.

To answer your second question, it can hurt a lot to have a tooth worked on without anesthesia. Again, it will depend on the size of the decay, the skill of the doctor, and other factors like your pain threshold and age. Older patients have smaller nerves and don't feel nearly as much as a younger patient who typically have huge nerves. You can always tell your dentist to try and go slow and if you start to feel pain, get numbed up.
It depends on many factors. How big is the cavity? What is your threshold of pain? What equipment is used in your dental office? I have dental laser in my office, and many times that alone is sufficient to complete procedure without pain, especially if the cavities in the teeth are not requiring major treatment.

It depends how deep the cavity is. Smaller the cavity, the easier the procedure. The problem is that when you avoid anesthesia and the procedure is uncomfortable, your blood pressure can become elevated, which depending on your health can be problematic. Sometimes, older patients can have certain fillings restored without local anesthesia because the tooth nerves become smaller as we age. Hope this helps.
Varies on the problem being treated, the depth of the cavity, how the dentist works and your pain tolerance... try it without and see....painful?? Get a shot.
There are many procedures that can be done without local "numbing" or shots. The most important is to make sure you are comfortable and get optimal oral health.