Digital Anesthetics

Nearly 40 million people avoid the dentist, according to Dr. James K. Bahcall, a Chicago-based endodontist and author of "Smile for Life: A Guide to Overcoming Your Fear of the Dentist" (Avalon Lane Publishing, $12.95).

Pain is the most often cited reason. In a 2003 survey conducted by the American Dental Association, more than 21 percent of people cited "fear of pain" as their reason why they avoid routine care.

Oral health is too important to be feared. "Not only does it relate to one's overall systemic health, but the quality of one's teeth can impact one's career, social relationships, appearance and confidence," Bahcall says.

If you breaks out in a cold sweat and cringe at the thought of anesthetic injections, then you might be ready for a change in the way you'd like to receive a dental injection.

If pain is the problem, patients will find comfort in the knowledge that today's anesthetics are more powerful, longer-lasting and have safer side-effect profiles, while newer delivery methods such as the Wand (discussed below) are minimizing the pain of injections. Our office routinely utilizes a Topical local anesthetic placed on the gum to desensitize the area in preparation for an injection.

The mere sight of a dental syringe and the thought of having an injection by the dentist can easily make most patients wish they were someplace else. For patients, this fear can be costly. Both from a health and financial direction, a delay of treatment can lead to interruptions in our daily schedules, possible large financial outlays, loss of teeth and just plain embarrassment. But good news has arrived to benefit patients (and surprisingly their dentists) providing a more pleasant dental experience.

A revolutionary new device was introduced to the dental profession in December of 1997 called the Wand and our office has been utilizing it routinely since then. The heart of this device is an on-board microprocessor, which guides the anesthetic flow rate. The microprocessor inside the Wand automatically compensates for different tissue densities and the anesthetic itself is delivered at a constant pressure and volume so that the injection itself is hardly felt. The unit additionally provides a flow of anesthetic directly ahead of the needle creating a "pathway of anesthesia" to further decrease the uncomfortable feeling usually associated with a dental injection.

The source of discomfort for most injections, isn't the needle it's the flow of anesthetic into the tissue in your mouth. The Wand? allows for an optimal flow rate every single time so that the injection process can be more comfortable.

Patient reactions in our office are highly favorable to the Wand, and many of our patient's are actually asking for it over the conventional dental syringe delivery system. Patient's having had an injection with the Wand? have had a quicker onset of anesthesia, a more profound and surprising shorter lasting feeling, which means that for a typical procedure, you get numb faster, better and that uncomfortable numbness that you might have for hours, seems to disappear faster. Even better news for the upper front teeth the Wand has made this even easier to numb up the front upper teeth, one hardly felt injection in your upper jaw not only gets you numb, but without the facial numbness that prevents you from speaking comfortably.

Our patients positive comments will hopefully flow to everyone, and those that have given up on coming to the dentist because of the needle, can look happily to having an injection by using the Wand.