Dental Phobia: How do you give a virtually pain-free injection?

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General Dental Care
BDSc (WA)

If you’re one of the many people who are scared of the dentist and/or have a needle phobia or dental phobia over all, take heart: there IS such a thing as a comfortable injection! At Smile Solutions we work hard to help patients control their anxiety and thus experience a virtually pain-free injection before any dental procedure.

Many things contribute to making things easier for the dental phobia, and I describe some of these below.

Ambience

Being in a serene and calming environment is vital in reducing dental phobia and hence a feeling of pain.

At Smile Solutions our facilities and staff are welcoming, calming and friendly. Our practice is bathed in natural light and the mood is further enhanced by soft music, aromatherapy oils and soothing water features. This is reflected in the positive and relaxed attitude of the Smile Solutions team.

Distraction is also important to reduce dental phobia. Watching our digital TV screens, set up with DVD players, allows you to lose all sense of your surroundings and relax.

ambience art deco          ambience art deco

Communication

Good communication between you and your dental team helps reduce anxiety.

Our philosophy takes us back to the basics of human relations: we attempt to understand dental phobia through your eyes, not our own. Your dentist will explain the entire injection procedure in simple, caring and calming terms. You will be informed about what to expect and be given the opportunity to ask questions.

During the Injection

You will have numbing paste applied to your gum before the injection, so you will not feel any contact with the needle.

Sometimes a small amount of anaesthetic can be placed, numbing the injection area; then, after a few moments, the remaining solution can be injected, making the experience much easier.

Your anaesthetic will be at room temperature and not cold from the fridge. The injection will be given gently and with compassion.

What you can do

Let your dentist know that you have anxiety about the injection. They will be happy to discuss it with you and discover how you think they can make it easier. Together you may be able to identify what is causing the anxiety and work towards reducing it.

The most important thing you can do during the injection is to not hold your breath, and keep your breathing relaxed and even. Relax your shoulders – don’t let them tense up. Each time you release a breath, focus on relaxing your body into the soft dental chair. Your dentist can talk you through the injection, reminding you to breathe and relax, reassuring you as the injection is given.

Build your Confidence

You can start any long dental treatment plan with shorter appointments, and hence a smaller number of injections, and build from there – as you feel more comfortable and confident.

Complementary Treatment Options

Some people with dental phobia need a little more help. You can request the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), which will decrease your anxiety and have some analgesic affects. Nitrous oxide is available at Smile Solutions.

Liquid diazepam (Valium) is also available to make your dental appointment a complete exercise in relaxation. This medication works quickly and will reduce anxiety during the dental injection and subsequent treatment.

In some instances a general anaesthetic is necessary, appropriate and welcomed. During this type of procedure you will have absolutely no awareness of the dental injection or treatment.

After the Injection

The duration of numbness after an injection varies for each patient. Normally you can expect your mouth to feel numb for 2 to 4 hours after the initial injection. During this time your face may feel different and you will need to be careful not to bite or scratch the area. As the numbness lessens, you will feel a slight tingling sensation, which will completely resolve once the local anaesthetic has worn off.

In a nutshell, giving a virtually pain-free injection is achievable and takes a team approach in the right environment.

If you tend to be scared of the dentist – that is, you are “dental phobic” – the best strategy is to book an appointment for a full examination with the Smile Solutions team, and this will include a consultation on how to make your treatment easier by recognising and reducing dental phobia to the best of our shared ability.

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