For many patients, the worst part of getting a filling, root canal, or other dental work done is the injection of the anesthetic to numb the area. Once the anesthetic takes effect, most patients don’t feel a thing and can tolerate the procedure in relative comfort, but the injection itself is painful and just the sight of the syringe and needle can cause the patient to become anxious.
Fortunately, advances in technology have made painless dental anesthetic injections a reality. Instead of a syringe and needle, many dentists now use a computer controlled device such as “The Wand” to inject the anesthetic. The Wand has a microprocessor that controls the rate at which the anesthetic is injected to minimize or eliminate pain or discomfort associated with injections of dental anesthetic.
Most patients believe that it is the needle that hurts, but most of the pain is due to the pressure of the anesthetic being injected. Automated injectors carefully control the rate of the anesthetic injection to minimize the discomfort caused by the anesthetic entering your tissue. The flow rate is kept below the level that causes pain.
In addition, the anesthetic flows out ahead of the needle and provides a numbed path for the needle to travel through. The patient can hardly feel anything because the needle always travels through an area that has been numbed.
Prior to starting the injection, a topical anesthetic gel is used to numb the area where the injection will begin. The patient does not feel the initial “stick” and the rest of the injection is comfortable and pain free.
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