Have you ever left the dental office with your face drooping or your eyelid fluttering? Have you had to go back to work, or go to lunch with a fat lip? “It’s nothing personal, doc, I just hate the dentist.” If I had a nickel for every time I hear that in my practice…
Fear is the number one reason people do not go to the dentist. Fear of dental procedures impacts me everyday and prevents so many in the world from managing their oral health.
Of all the things in dentistry that people dread most, it’s the needle. The mouth is an extremely sensitive area of the body. Sticking a needle in your arm for blood work hurts for a second, but the skin and muscles in the arm are no where near as sensitive as the mouth.
Dental technology has exploded in the last 5 years. With all the amazing advancements that I have introduced to my practice, has the most painful, fearful procedure improved at all? Dental injections hurt for two reasons. First, the penetration of the needle into the gums and oral tissue. Second, the pressure of the fluid as it is injected from a small needle into tight tissue hurts as well. Finally, even though we are often working on specific areas of the gums and teeth, the affect of a dental shot is a “fat lip,” puffy cheek and droopy smile.
The great news is technology has improved dental injections, and I have made it my goal to improve the dental patient’s experience as much as possible. While there is never the elimination of some of the above problems, newer products and protocols have come to help significantly reduce the negative aspects of dental injections. First, we use a laser to desensitize the area we are about the inject. The laser creates a temporary analgesia that significantly reduces the pain of the needle piecing through the gums.
Second, we can add a solution to the anesthetic to increase the speed at which the anesthesia works. This is important because we can start the procedure faster and release the patient faster as we do not have to wait as long for the patient to get “numb.”
However, the most significant change in the way I do dental injections is the STA system (Milestone Scientific). This product has been around for a while, but it’s most recent version has changed the game for me as a dentist.
The STA stands for “Single Tooth Anesthesia.” Dental shots place local anesthetic in the soft tissue around where nerves are going into or are in the bone. We rely on proper placement of the needle and the right dosage. While dental injections as a whole are quite predictable, there are negative consequences.
First, we may not be in the right place since we cannot see the nerves, or we do not have the right dosage. Second, some people have a more difficult time getting numb. This can be due to genetic, anatomic or other factors. Third, numbness of the lip, tongue, and other soft tissue structures comes with traditional injections. Finally, there are potential, though rare, long-term consequences like prolonged lip numbness, muscle spasm and the dreaded “electric shock” when the injection pierces the sheath of the nerve bundle.
The STA places the anesthetic around the tooth I am working on. It only gets that tooth numb and does not get the lip, tongue or cheek numb with it. The needle is slid gently between the tooth and the gums and the anesthesia is delivered by computer so the pressure is optimized for the tooth.
We place the anesthetic 2-3 places around the tooth. While the time for the injection is longer, it is almost painless and I can start to work right away. Think about no fat lip, or tongue. Think about enjoying your dinner or your company after a dental procedure.
We at Golan Family Dentistry will work with our patients to support their treatment needs. We will provide traditional and more holistic options for their tooth treatment. Education and biological understanding of your body and your mouth is of our most paramount concern. For more info see the ad directly below, call us at 516-627-1687 or visit: www.enamelrules.com