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Pain Free Shots For Patients

“You just gave me a shot?!”- We really do give pain free shots.

Something a patient of mine asked me last week prompted me to write this post about how we give really good shots at our office. You may not think that’s possible based on your dental experience, but I assure you it is. My patient last week needed a tooth removed at the oral surgeon’s office, and upon hearing my recommendation to remove the tooth he asked, “Doc, can I come here to see you first so you can numb me up?” We hear very frequently that our injections are, if not painless, very comfortable. I’ll share with you our little secret.

First, to get the shot right, you’ve got to care. You actually have to care about the patient’s comfort. You have to recognize and validate the patient’s fear about the needle, and you have to feel for them in the vulnerable spot they are in. If your dentist doesn’t care, he or she is just going ram that needle in your gums and inject that anesthetic as quickly as possible. This brings me to the next secret.

The injection must be slowly administered in order for it to be comfortable. Most people don’t feel the poke of the needle. What they feel is the anesthetic going into the tissue. Anesthetic is slightly acidic and usually at room temperature, and the tissue can sense that. That sensation is usually interpreted by the brain as pain. So the way I get around that is I go slow and I use a computer automated machine to help me control the flow of the anesthetic so that the flow is precise. This machine also allows me to use a very small needle and syringe, not the huge syringe that most use that looks like it belongs in a veterinarians practice.

Statistics tell us that many patients delay scheduling needed dental treatment because of fear of getting a shot. This delay only makes their dental condition worse, setting them up for even more invasive and complicated procedures. This only increases their fear more, and the cycle continues until they are forced to either do root canals or extract teeth. Because of how we care, and because of how we administer anesthetic at our office, we have very few patients that keep their fears about getting dental treatment.

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