The Wand for Dental Phobia

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Many of us can recall, particularly in our childhood, a trip to the dentist’s which was particularly unpleasant as when a local anaesthetic was injected it caused an extremely unpleasant and painful burning sensation. For some, that experience can evolve into a fear of needles, anaesthesia, or even the dental institution as a whole. As this fear is a fairly common one, it is no surprise that technology has come through with a solution to the painful application of local anaesthetics: the wand.

Why can it hurt to have a local anaesthetic injected?

An anaesthetic is a pharmacological agent used to numb an area. There are many different and distinct types of anaesthesia, but the one with which we are concerned in this article is the local anaesthetic commonly used in dental treatments. This form of anaesthesia numbs a very specific area, leaving it pain free during the course of a procedure that would otherwise be quite painful.

Local anaesthetics are applied by means of a needle, and the substance is injected into the area to be numbed. The needle itself only causes a minute stinging sensation and is not the cause of the more severe pain that many have reported coming out of a dental appointment. This pain is in fact caused by either (or both) a more careless insertion of the needle or the overly quick injection of an anaesthetic into your gums. Injecting these agents too quickly is typically the cause of the painful burning sensation that many have reported coming from the experience.

Local anaesthetics and dental phobias.

The majority of patients suffering from a dental phobia are afraid of pain, needles, and/or anaesthesia. These fears are particularly understandable if you think about them as a consequence of a dental appointment at a younger age that was painful, or if you consider the culture in which we live, where you can find dozens of horror stories online outlining the various things that have gone or could go wrong.

The wand

Most people who suffer from a fear of needles are unaware that the pain of injections is caused by the anaesthetic being delivered too quickly or with too much force. Sometimes it simply a matter of the dentist being a little clumsy or heavy-handed. Many problems with needles would be removed if there was a tool which enabled the anaesthetic to be delivered at the perfect speed every single time, meaning that there would be no unnecessarily painful experiences which can have long term psychological effects.

The wand is science’s answer to this need. When used, the flow of anaesthetic is computer controlled by a piece of specially designed dental hardware called CompuDent. The wand is the machine that holds the needle, and together they ensure that the injection is not accidentally delivered too fast or hard. 

With the wand there is still a needle and injection but it removes the pain from the procedure. This is often the ideal solution of those patients who particular suffer form a fear of pain inflicted during dental treatments but may not be perfect for people who specifically fear needles as the wand does incorporate a needle. Having said that, the wand is nowhere near as intimidating as a conventional needle. It looks more like a pen and the needle is at the very tip and is very discrete. For patients who get scared at the sight of a needle, the wand can be very comforting in comparison. 

Furthermore due to the advantages of cutting edge technology the wand is as effective and works just as well as a traditional syringe. The wand delivers the perfect amount of anaesthetic accurately and at the right speed. The design of the wand also enables dentists to use it easily, and regardless of where in a patient’s mouth the injection needs to be administered, the wand allows the dentist to reach it and apply the anaesthetic properly. Ease of use means the dentist can offer the patient the best possible treatment and experience, and also provides comfort and reassurance in that the procedure is conducted swiftly and without hassle, rather than the struggle that can still take place if a syringe is used in an awkward/hard to reach place in the mouth.

Unfortunately however not all dentists use the wand or have it available in their practice. To use properly and effectively the wand requires training and many dentists do not have the time or the inclination. For dentists who have used more conventional methods for many years, learning a new technique and equipment can be intimidating and off-putting and they may be loathe to do so. The cost of the wand, of learning how to use and the essential hardware needed can be too much for some dentists, as can the disposable elements of the process, which are more expensive and numerous than traditional syringes. Because of this cost factor many dentist prefer not to incorporate the wand into their practice. For most patients this does not pose a problem and does not affect their treatment. If you are phobic however, and if the phobia is particularly centred around pain or needles, then finding a dentist who uses the wand could be beneficial.

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