I know that fear of the dental needle used to administer a local anesthetic is still
very common. Many people unwisely delay dental treatment out of fear of being hurt by
the needle insertion and /or ultimately by the dental procedure itself.

This FEAR of receiving a local anesthetic is very unfortunate and although such fears
are the result of some past,bad experiences in a dental environment, they are largely
based on outdated information.

Undeniably, dental treatment can result in some form of discomfort, however, the majority
of dental procedures today,are now performed almost entirely without pain !

The various local anesthetics currently used by dentists for their work procedures are
remarkably safe
and marvelously efficient in alleviating pain during a dental procedure.

A local anesthetic is usually administered by an injection using a syringe and a needle.
Depending on the skill and technique of your dentists, the administration of a local
anesthetic can be momentarily painful, BUT is RARELY, extremely painful.

Like anything else, some dentists are extremely good at giving needles painlessly while
others (hopefully a minority) may not be. I always tell my dental students, learning and
perfecting a painless
needle injection technique is just as easy as learning a bad and painful technique….
…….. so why not do it right?

You might ask the question, what is the right way to give a needle?
Well, I tell the students that the best way is to use disposable, sterile needles,take
your time, inject
as slowly possible.

Dentists in a hurry, usually inject too quickly, thereby causing pain
so avoid going to dentists who do not take the time to explain what they are going to
do for
you and how they are going to do it.

Unfortunately, fear of needles originated many years ago when dentists after the war ,
were so busy meeting the demand for dental treatment,that their local anesthetic techniques
were almost non-existent.

They were rough, abrupt, rude and aggressive in nature. Don’t get me wrong. Not all of them
like this but a large majority of them were. And it was not totally their fault. After the
second world
war there was tremendous shortage of dentists and a great need for their services and expertise.

Many dental schools had an 18th month dental program to graduate dentist sooner rather than later.
Many of these post-war dentists did not have the opportunity to learn a local anesthetic
technique before they graduated.

Consequently,when they realized that it was easier to treat patients under a local anesthetic,
and more types of local anesthtics became available, they began using them, but really had not
developed the skills to administer them in the appropriate manner.

I remember quite vividly, having a “baby tooth” extracted without a local anesthetic from our
dentist in the early 40s.I also recall having some fillings done on my “baby teeth” without

Many years later, I found out that our family dentist did not have the skills or training required
to give a local anesthetic. I remember that many of the children including myself calling our
dentist, “a butcher”. ……… How sad !

Most dentists today can administer a local anesthetic in a painless manner. The patient is free
of pain during the dental treatment and the benefit to the dentist is he or she has the ability
to work in a more pleasant atmosphere. The patient is more relaxed and much more co-operative.

Under certain circumstances, where the local anesthetic technique does not work so well or
the patient is overly apprehensive, other methods of controlling dental pain and discomfort
are available like;

* sedative premedications ( allays apprehension)
* general anesthetics ( renders patients unconcious)
* Nitrous oxide (laughing gas which causes a semi-euphoria)
* Hypnosis techniques which allay fear of the needle

All this being said however, it is generally agreed that a local anesthetic administered
by an injection technique, is the safest, best and most convenient pain suppressant available
in any dental office.

Beware of dentists who seem to busy to take the time required to administer a local
anesthetic properly and painlessly. If they care about you, your concerns and welfare,they
will allow enough time in their office schedules to accommodate you.

Its not like the old days when you did not have a good choice of dentists to choose from.
Now there is an abundance of dentists in your community and you should be able to find one
that you like and can communicate with. Finding  a dentist with that gentle touch is the key!

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