Most of us remember those days when we were particularly mischievous. Our harassed mothers would use one of three threats –
1. You are getting too much – we are going to send you to a boarding school.
2. For acting so rude and naughty – no more chocolates/TV/Friends
3. If you don’t behave – we are going to take you to Dr. XYZ and ask him to give you an INJECTION!!
Now I don’t know about the first two threats but the fear of the last one sticks with us for years. We always interpret injections as horrible experiences – always painful – always traumatic. Always a punishment.
And a couple of visits to an old style dentist set that ideology in stone.
The good news is that injections aren’t that bad anymore. First and foremost – a lot of things have changed.
According to us – a good injection is half the battle won. A painless injection relaxes the patient and makes him/her more co-operative during the rest of the procedure. Moreover it ensures happy memories of the dentist which is what we particularly love.
So here’s what we say helps:
1. The size of needle diameters has dropped drastically. So we now use 27-30 G needles as opposed to the thicker 25 gauge used previously. This makes the needle penetration almost painless. Ask your dentist what is the gauge of needles he/she uses and request for a finer one if they are using a thicker gauge.
2. Better still – a gel or a spray is generally applied in the area of the injection before the injection. This makes the mucosa numb. The subsequent prick of the needle may be hardly felt if at all. Request a numbing gel/spray to be applied before the injection. A dentist who cares about your comfort will not refuse you.
3. Most good dentists do not use those plastic syringes anymore. The plastic syringes though disposable have to be loaded from a bottle. So you see the dentist tear out a new syringe and stick it to a bottle of anesthetic which has been previously opened. Now for anesthetic to remain in bottles opened and stored – it must contain a preservative called methyl Paraben. This preservative is what causes the rare allergies people experience with local anesthetic. However with sealed glass cartridges which are use and throw – the local anesthetic does not have to be stored open at all. Therefore the need for a preservative is eliminated thereby virtually eliminating all chances of an allergic reaction. Most dentists today prefer metal syringes used in combination with sealed glass cartridges with fine gauge needles.
The future is needle free anesthetic options and laughing gas – patients will have be able to rid themselves of the fear of needles forever. The time when this will be available at most leading clinics is not far.
But till then – you don’t have to suffer barbaric injections. A good dentist with a combination of excellent technique and a good armamentarium can ensure a comfortable injection.
So in the future when you threaten your kids by saying “we will ask Dr Arya to give you an injection” – they might actually stick out their tongue and say – “We know – it doesn’t pain. And we get to eat ice cream later. And they give us a sticker too”. It is time you find other ways to get your kids in line!!!!