What is the most common concern most patients think about when they visit the dentist? PAIN!
When it comes to pain, patients experience both the physical component, i.e. receiving the injection, and the emotional component, i.e. the anticipation and anxiety associated with pain. A lot of patients face the dilemma of having a conventional injection and enduring whatever pain comes with receiving it along with the after effects where their face, lip and/or tongue are left numb for hours; or they elect to gut it out and have their dental procedure done without being numb.
Technology has not only virtually overcome the pain concern but also the majority of postoperative face, lip and tongue numbing! Does this sound too good to be true? Well, here’s how…
Most of the physical component of pain when having an injection is associated with the pressure of the fluid being injected along with the location of the injection site. Conventional injections require the dentist to manually hold a syringe and squeeze the anesthetic into the tissue after the needle has penetrated the tissue. It is extremely difficult for a dentist to hold the syringe steady and inject very slowly to minimize pain. Plus conventional injection sites either result in pain or result in the lip, face, or tongue becoming numb.
To overcome these consequences, dentists know that if we can administer the anesthetic in specific locations in the palate that we can get complete numbing for the upper teeth without the resulting lip or face numbing. We also know that if we can dispense the anesthetic into the periodontal space of an individual tooth (upper or lower jaw) that we can get complete anesthesia of that tooth without any adjacent tissue becoming numb. The problem has been that the patient experiences a lot of pain when either of these shots is performed conventionally.
Technology has overcome all of this with the use of a device called “The Wand” or the “STA” (Single Tooth Anesthesia). The device uses a computer processor that administers the anesthetic drop by drop, which eliminates the pressure pain while allowing the dentist to inject in the palate or in the periodontal space with no (or extremely little) discomfort.
The Wand lets the dentist know via audible sounds and a visual display if the anesthetic is being administered in the periodontal space. There is also an option to have an automatic aspiration mode set.
The Wand looks high tech, which impresses patients, and there is a thin tube with a very small needle tip connected to the computer controller which helps alleviate the typical anxiety a patient has when seeing the dreaded syringe.
Manufactured by Milestone Scientific, The Wand is a win-win for the dentist and patient! For more information, go to www.thewand.com.
Jack Ringer DDS, FAACD, FIADFE, is one of only approximately 60 dentists in the world to become an Accredited Fellow by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He served as president of the AACD from 2013-14 and is also a Fellow with the International Federation of Dental Facial Esthetics (IFDFE). He provides state-of-the-art esthetic dentistry at his practice, Advanced Smile Design, in Anaheim Hills, CA and is a nationally renowned lecturer and educator in contemporary esthetic dentistry.