This is no longer the Dark Ages of Dentistry. Gentle dentistry can now be performed through advances in technology and dental delivery techniques. While most people are somewhat nervous when receiving dental treatment, there is much less to be worried about now than there was in the past. A dentist can make patients comfortable during anesthetic injections by wiggling the cheek, pulling the tissue over the needle rather than actually putting the needle into the tissue and very slowly delivering the anesthetic. Most often, my patients comment that they did not even feel the needle or any of the injection.
Virtual reality glasses allow patients to watch movies during treatment, taking their mind and ears off the procedure being performed. Headphones playing music are a great option as well. For those who remain fearful, nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas” can be delivered. Oral sedation medications allow the patient to maintain an airway and not go to sleep altogether, but to be very relaxed during treatment, almost forgetting the anything happened. If that is not enough, sleep dentistry can be performed by practitioners with advanced licenses.
Not only does the injection not need to be painful anymore, the anesthetic agents used are now much more profound. I routinely administer less than half the dose that was once required to achieve numbness. These anesthetics also provide an even deeper level of numbness and are considerably faster-acting. So now that the shots do not hurt and you cannot feel the drill, what are you waiting for? Go to the dentist!