Gentle Dental Techniques
At SF Dental, we care about your comfort!
About the author, Dr. Stella Kim
The materials on this page were prepared and medically reviewed by Dr. Stella Kim, DDS, a San Francisco dentist and a graduate of the UCSF School of Dentistry.
Don't Put Off Your Dental Visit
If you’re afraid of the dentist, you’re not alone. Lots of people are. But rest assured—there have been dramatic advances in recent years, and we do everything we can to make your visit as close to pain free as possible.
The Modern Gentle Dental Approach
The techniques we use at SF Dental are much gentler than the dental procedures of even ten years ago. That’s because dentists realized we’d have a much better chance of improving our patients’ health if we could convince them to come in regularly instead of putting things off until the pain was unbearable.
It’s like exercise: that expensive gym membership doesn’t do you any good if you never go in. So why not stick to a more convenient exercise routine that you’ll actually follow?
For a similar reason, there has been a lot of emphasis within the dental profession on refining procedures and materials to reduce pain and anxiety. The more comfortable we can make you, the better your oral health will be. That’s why gentle dental techniques are an important part of modern dentistry, and SF Dental’s Dr. Stella Kim takes pride in providing the lightest, gentlest touch possible.
Advances in Gentle Dental Technologies
Some of the most effective technologies in gentle dental treatment have nothing to do with dentistry. We’ll provide you with on-demand musical and visual entertainment during your procedure, or if you’d rather not have any distractions, we can also provide noise-cancelling headphones. In addition, we offer:
More comfortable fillings
At SF Dental, we use modern, tooth-colored composite when treating a cavity. Not only does this look better than the old-fashioned metal amalgam, it also means a more gentle dental experience. Composite bonds much better to your natural tooth structure than metal. For that reason, Dr. Kim can drill a much smaller hole, taking out only the infected tooth material, and that means getting a cavity filled with composite is significantly more comfortable.
Needle-free numbing agents
Dr. Kim prides herself on excellent needle skills, but if the idea of an injection makes you queasy, we can also offer rub-on cetacaine for certain procedures. Cetacaine is a combination of several topical anesthetics that is often more effective than single-substance formulations. Cetacaine is applied directly to your gums, and it creates a numbing effect similar to a traditional dental anesthetic.
Preparing for SuccessIf you want to make sure you get the most gentle dental experience possible, there are a few things you can do to prepare
Come in regularly
It may seem strange, but one of the best ways to reduce dental pain is to come in regularly. If you get your regular cleanings and checkups, you’re much less likely to develop serious problems that require major intervention.
Let us know
If you’re bothered by the sound of the drill, or needles make you anxious, make sure to call SF Dental and tell us your concerns ahead of time. We will prepare for your visit and set up the equipment to best suit your needs. We want to do our best to make you feel comfortable.
Some patients take an extra dose of Xanax or down a shot of vodka to calm their nerves before an appointment. This is a bad idea. These substances can interact with the medicines and anesthetics we use during your procedure, and the combination can lead to unpleasant or dangerous side effects. It’s better to tell us about your anxiety and let us handle it for you.