Guest post by EDA Co-Founder Dr. Fred Pockrass
Ask any patient what causes them sweaty palms in anticipation of a dental appointment and most will tell you it is fear of “the shot.” Let’s face it: no-one wants to get “a shot.” But as dental professionals we know that numbing is essential to many procedures.
To address this common fear, I’ve developed a numbing technique that my patients tell me is close to painless. Here’s what I do.
First, I apply a blended topical anesthetic comprised of Lidocaine, Prilocaine and Tetracaine to the tissue at the site of the injection, placing a small amount of the material on a Q-Tip and holding it in place with a cotton roll. I engage in pleasant banter with my patient for about 90 seconds, giving the topical a chance to sink in. I also ask the patient to place their hands on their belly, and to begin slowly taking deep breaths through their nose. Our massage therapist is often in the room at this time, gently placing her hands on the patient’s feet to help them feel grounded and secure.
Then, outside the patient’s field of vision, I load the syringe with a numbing agent appropriate to the procedure. When I’m ready to administer the injection, I ask the patient to close their eyes, and I position the needle at the injection site. Then I ask them to open their eyes, to continue their slow deep breathing, and to look straight into my eyes. I administer the anesthetic very slowly, generally taking between 20 and 30 seconds. During this time I’m continuing to talk reassuringly to the patient, telling them they are doing a great job and telling them that they should start to feel the area getting numb. I also remind them to keep slowly, and deeply breathing.
When the carpule of anesthetic is done, I very slowly remove the needle, making sure that the patient never sees it. Then, I say something like: “There, all done!” Or: “Great job!” And we’re off to the races with a numb clinical field, and a patient who is relaxed and ready to receive treatment.