How to beat nervousness at the Dentist. Modern Sedation Techniques, including easy needles!

I was really bad at going to the dentist. My mum used to drag me into the surgery attached to her heels. My old dentist still finds it funny that I followed the same profession as him!

I once had a really bad root canal filling. The anesthetic had not worked properly, the Dentist did not believe me when I said it was not numb, I could feel everything he was doing. I had to end this for 45 minutes, sweat dripping off my forehead.

From that day on I decided I was going to do everything possible to make sure that that never happens to my patients. I also made it my promise to offer ways to make Dental Treatment as easy as possible.

So firstly, before using any drugs, we make ordinary dentistry more pleasant.

  • After applying a numb gel to the gum to reduce the feeling of the needle, we use body temperature local anesthetic in needles so fine, you can hardly feel them.
  • We use slow injection techniques, going too fast causes pressure and pain.
  • For roof of the mouth injections, which I especially do not like having myself, we rub the skin for about 20 seconds. Try it yourself with firm pressure, you can make the surface go quite numb. The needle is then hardly felt.
  • We use anesthetic that penetrates so well, we do not often have to use those larger injections for back teeth, we can just put a little juice next to the tooth.
  • We make sure things are numb before we start. We test the gums and test the teeth to make sure there is no sensation.
  • Impressions stiff enough that they do not flow down the back of your throat. They also set quickly so you are not left with a mouthful of goo for minutes on end.
  • Sedation

    Using oral premedication like Diazepam, nitrous oxide gas or intravenous sedation are all great ways of making the whole experience better.

    The oral route is an easy way to reduce the feelings of anxiety. Often patients try this first before trying the deeper sedations.

    Nitrous Oxide Conscious sedation produces very nice levels of anxiety control. The patient is awake but feeling very happy (the joys of laughing gas) and much more amenable to treatment.

    The ultimate though is Intravenous Sedation. A very fine needle is put in the vein and within minutes relaxation sets in. IV sedation is great because a long session feet very short and the whoel experience is forgotten about afterward, so there are no memories.

    Because of this amnesia, we find each session getting easier and easier as anxiety is naturally reduced before each visit.

    We give the injections in the mouth after the patient is sedated, never before.

    For patients scared of needles, we can use Intranasal Sedation. A more concentrated formula of the drug is introduced into the nose using a device similar to a Vicks inhaler. Its takes a little while longer but get absorbs really well and produces sedation similar to IV. We still have to put a line in as the patient gets more relaxed, but the anxiety is already reduced.

    All three techniques discussed are really safe and used thousands of times a day across the country.

    We have carried out many procedures here and its got to a stage where we recommend these techniques to everyone. Why should patients have to be even remotely uncomfortable by Dentistry? There are procedures carries out in hospital that are unsuitable but not painful where IV sedation is routinely used as standard. Why cant dentistry be the same?

    If any of this has sparked an interest, speak to your Dentist!