For a moment, imagine that this is one of the forms your patients fill out at an initial visit:
We understand that each person has unique concerns when it comes to pain management, and would like to give our patients the opportunity to explore all of the anesthetic techniques available in our modern practice. Please read the following paragraphs and make a checkmark next to the one that best describes and addresses your needs:
|1. Please do not get a needle anywhere near me. You can numb my face with a sledgehammer, but you’d better not even let me see the tip of an etchant syringe or I’ll flip. Pain is preferable to an injection in my case. I will be willing to try electroshock treatment or even a couple of frozen teething rings wedged under my lips, but definitely no shots.||With your delicate situation, we have a dental TENS unit available. Two electrodes will be placed in opposite areas of your mouth. We will then run a current of electricity that will fry your noodles allow a fair amount of pain management. Your hand signals will help us control the frequency of the current. TENS feels very similar to sticking your finger in a light socket. Our other non-sharp alternative is called the GumEase, which is a frozen saline-filled ring that numbs the teeth at the roots. If you are not cold sensitive, cryoanesthesia is better than nothing. And it’s warmer than ice cream.|
|2. I am okay with injections, but I don’t want to feel anything. Ever.I will do best with relaxation, especially if nitrous oxide sedation is part of the trip, and then you can very, very gently and slowly do what you must. When Dorothy got sight of Glenda’s wand, her ride somewhere over the rainbow was…over. Please use the Wand on me, but make sure that I never see it.||We’re not supposed to call it that anymore; the official name for this single tooth anesthesia method from Milestone Scientific is the STA System™. Other dentists may momentarily zing you good with the Henke Sass Wolf Ligmaject when they are administering intraligamentary anesthesia, but you’ll find that the STA System is careful and precise. Additionally, the passage of time will seem like nothing as you float off into the happy clouds of laughing gas.|
|3. I like having my cheek shaked and pulled. It takes my mind off of the needle and back to the golden days of dentistry. Oh, to be a kid again.||Because of the inherent post-injection trauma associated with slapping a cheek around like a piece of wet ham, our preference instead is to snap on the VibraJect analgesic syringe clip. You’ll enjoy five times the wiggling in only a quarter of the space.|
|4. The dental visits had better not interfere with my day because I am a very busy person. Needles are fine, a little pain is okay too. Most importantly, my lip should not still feel like it’s on the floor, a la Bill Cosby, for more than an hour after the appointment. I would like something to make the numb feeling go away as fast as possible.||If you can wait until October, 2008 for your dental treatment, OraVerse™, a new anesthetic reversal agent, will be available from the Novalar pharmaceutical company. This additional injection has been shown to accelerate the return to normal sensation and function. It only works if your original anesthetic shot contained the vasoconstrictor epinephrine, but it can pull out the anesthetic stops in less than 90 minutes following the administration of OraVerse.|
No matter which method you prefer, the best way to administer anesthesia is always with a caring touch.
So for all you dentists who mail out postcards to potential patients, please don’t advertise that you’re gentle if you’re not. With all the options available, painful dentistry is pretty much inexcusable.