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Taking a step closer to pain-free dentistry

Written by Dr Nigel Carter OBE
Thursday, 25 Aug 2011 09:05

For many people, dental anxiety, at least on some level, remains a common problem. I can't say that I know anybody who enjoys going to the dentist, but many, many people have a very deep fear of the dentist. The fear could be of a dreaded drill, choking, or even the pain itself. Most dental phobias tend to carry similar symptoms but they almost all end in one destructive result - that people do not visit their dentist.

Dentists have become very good at recognising that many patients have this phobia, and therefore try to cater to that person's needs. Many of them now offer special services for nervous patients, including sedation, hypnosis and counselling so it is important people can find a dentist who is sensitive to their specific anxiety.

One of the main causes of concern for somebody suffering from dental phobia is the fear of injections. As you can imagine, this can make even the simplest dental treatment difficult to perform, as the injection is to numb the patient, without it, the procedure could become quite painful. In order to make these sufferers more at ease, many dentists embrace new technology that can make dental visits less stressful.

One such device is has been named the Wand. Essentially a computer-controlled dental injection, the flow rate of the local anaesthetic can be carefully controlled, meaning that the injection is guaranteed to be slow and steady and therefore comfortable. It looks non-threatening for the patient and the pen-like grasp allows the operator to rotate the hand-piece, which can make it easier to glide the needle into the tissue. As good as it may be, however, there are a few issue with the Wand that means it remains relatively unused by dentists. Firstly, there's the cost. Like any new technology, it's fairly expensive, especially when compared to a traditional syringe. Additionally, some are concerned that the procedure takes longer than their "standard" injection.

As it stands, the traditional dental syringe has not changed much during the last 150 years, so it's about time something new arrived on the scene. A pain-free dental injection such as this may just be what is needed to encourage even more people to go for the dental treatments they need.

In addition to this, other products are swiftly arriving to play a fundamental role to patient comfort. Widely available now for some time, topical gels, applied to the gumline before an injection, briefly minimise the pain, however, its effectiveness remains relatively short-lasting. Recently, small adhesive strips have been invented, that securely attach to the gum to prevent or minimise the needle pain often associated with local dental anaesthetic injections.

These new and inventive technologies will make it progressively easier for those who are afraid of painful dental injections to face the necessary dental treatments. Without the pain associated with the start of a dental treatment, a patient can look forward to getting the proper dental health care they deserve. Hopefully, in the coming years, these types of products will grow from strength to strength, with greater competition in the market heralding more effective results.

Best wishes,


For more information on dental phobia, please visit our ‘Tell Me About' section on My Fear of the Dentist.

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Comments (1)


Ash Chaurasia says:

This is a good information post.Thank you Dr.Nigel for sharing.Sedation dentistry provides a relaxing experience for some people receiving dental treatment. Patients who are anxious or fearful about dental treatment may be good candidates for sedation dentistry. Conscious SedationThrough conscious sedation, patients are provided pain relievers or sedatives so that they will be relaxed and feel virtually no pain during their dental procedure. While patients under conscious sedation will likely no

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