Dublin physician Francis Rynd invented the hollow needle used in modern hypodermic syringes, stating its first successful use in an 1845 article in the Dublin Medical Press. This marked the first time a physician could inject a sedative or other fluids directly into their patient’s bloodstream, a huge step for medicine. Rynd originally invented the hollow syringe to help patients who were suffering from neuralgia, a nerve disease which causes a horrific amount of pain.
Dentists often have to carry out invasive and painful procedures in the mouth. To minimize patients' discomfort, dentists use anesthetics that block the pain, which are administered using needles. However, about 20 million Americans are terrified of needles. Needle phobia, also known as trypanophobia, is more than just a fear of needles. If you have trypanophobia, you may dread receiving any type of medical care — particularly anything that involves injections. Prior to any medical procedure, patients can experience high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate. This can occur hours or even days before the appointment. Some patients with needle phobia may have a hypersensitivity to the pain caused by a needle; an injection barely felt by one person may cause excruciating pain to another.
Dental anxiety is extremely common, and people with dental phobias often avoid routine care. Between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear, while a higher percentage, perhaps 20%, experiences enough anxiety that they will go to the dentist only when absolutely necessary.
A dentist’s first goal should be to understand the depth of the patient’s phobia by talking about it. Make the patient as comfortable as possible in the office environment by offering blankets, soft music, or a television distraction. Create a signal system with the patient so he or she feels some level of control and can ask for a break during treatment. If lack of control is a main cause of anxiety, make sure to explain what’s happening to the patient at every stage of the procedure.
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