Needle Phobia: Fear of Injections and What to Do

Needle Phobia: Fear of Injections and What to Do

May 10, 2017

Many people have a terrible phobia of needle. A 1988 study showed that about 8% all adults in the UK report fear of injections and 5% have a fear that makes them have a “phobia”, which means they are terrified of needles and avoid them when at all possible. This can mean many people avoid vital dental are that can cause further damage to their oral and physical health. This is especially true when the procedures involve needles for Novocain or to numb a part of the mouth to do extensive dental work.

Lack of Empathy:

There can be various reasons that people find needles terrifying. One reason can be lack of empathy from the person giving the shot. Chances are the first shots that most dental assistants give as students are exceptionally gentle and painless. Most students receiving the shots report hardly feeling a little pinch if anything. Over time, however, many dental assistants get “complacent” giving these injections. They just take the needle and stick it in without hardly thinking twice. This can cause injections to be rather painful. People develop that stigma of injections and look to avoid them when at all possible, because that hurts!

The key is to find a dentist who has not lost their compassion. Here at Ramona Dental of Chino we are very careful every time we give a patient an injection. It’s even OK to remember to ask the dental assistant to be gentle with the needle as you are already afraid of them. This nice reminder can cause the person to be gentle, and to ease up causing less pain for your injections when you have to receive them.

Not Using Local Anesthetic Gel:

Many dentists don’t bother using the topical anesthetic gel they are supposed to use on the area prior to giving the injection. Others may not give it long enough to numb the area before putting the needle in. That can cause the needle injection to be painful. Here at Ramona Dental of Chino we will always use the topical gels, and we will ensure you can’t feel anything before giving the injection. This helps you avoid unnecessary pain.

Using a Dull Needle:

This is an almost-nonexistent issue these days as most needles used at most offices are one-use and thrown away. This is true for Ramona Dental of Chino so dull needles should not be an issue. But if going to other dentist offices be sure they throw the needles away every three or four uses at max, or needles can be dull. That means jabbing the needle in harder to get it into the gum line to help numb the tooth. This can cause unnecessary pain.

Not Making Tissue Taut & Not Injecting Gently:

Ramona Dental of Chino ensures that their dentists are stretching the soft tissue out where necessary before providing injections to ensure there is no pain involved. Some areas of the mouth need the soft skin pulled tightly before injections are given. Others are OK to be given without doing so. Ask your dentist before you begin if this is an area where the skin should be tightened before injecting to avoid pain or not.

Administering Anesthetic Too Rapidly:

Many dentists just take the needle and stick it in where they can find a good spot. They do it rapidly to save time. This can cause a lot of pain if it’s not in a numbed area. Ramona Dental of Chino always emphasizes patient comfort over “saving time”. Be sure to tell your dentist if you are experiencing any pain with any injections so they can fix the issue and avoid pain on subsequent injections. We strive to take our time and ensure that all patients are comfortable and relaxed. Your safety and comfort is OUR priority.

Causing of Burning Sensation During Injections:

Many people report feeling painful burning sensations when injections are being made. This is because This is generally the result of giving local anesthetic too quickly. It can also be differentiating pH levels between what is in the mouth and what is in the anesthetic solution being provided. Some people may not think it’s burning badly, but others can be shocked if they don’t expect it. This only lasts a few seconds, and generally dissipates quickly.

Type of Injections:

Some injections are more likely to cause a pinch or a poke than others. Some injections may not be possible to give completely PAINLESSLY but Ramona Dental of Chino strives to make every injection painless as possible through using appropriate injection practices. If you feel something is painful, and more could be done let your dentist know so they can adapt to your needs and address your concerns.

What Can I Do to Overcome My Fear of Dentists?

Find the Right Dentist:

Finding a dentist that you are comfortable with such as one at Ramona Dental of Chino who is aware of and believes strongly in patient comfort. Someone who is gentle and easy rather than jamming a needle in to save time will make the experience much more painless. Techniques are available for dentists to use that will make it all less painful. Just check to make sure that the dentist is implementing these techniques to save you unnecessary pain and discomfort while receiving your injections. Ask your dentist specifically if they can give painless injections.

Use Local Numbing Gels:

If you generally have a phobia of needles ask your dentists to provide numbing gel and to give it adequate time to work before using the injection. If you are so numb that you won’t feel the injection that can help make the procedure much less painful for you. Some dentists have totally topical solutions that don’t require any injections. Ask your dentist if such options are available to you!

Benefits of Injections:

Consider the benefits of getting the injection even if it pokes a bit or is a tiny pinch, at least you are not experiencing the pain of the entire procedure. The pain of an injection will be a lot less than the pain of a root canal or cavity being filled without any anesthesia at all!

Little Things: There are little things you can do when getting injections that may help you feel more comfortable. When getting an injection possibly closing your eyes can help so you don’t have that anticipation building up of seeing the needle coming and shutting your mouth to avoid it. Ask the dentist to talk to you or ask a question you can think about while providing the injections can help distract you so you are not focused on the pinch or poke that may be coming, however small it may be. Also, trying to learn a breathing or relaxation technique that can help you focus on relaxing and meditating can help you prepare for and handle the pain better as well.

Working with a Psychologist:

If none of that seems to work, possibly speaking with a psychologist about overcoming the phobia you have of needles can help. Psychologists can help you become less frightened and terrified of needles. Techniques that may help you include things like systematic sensualizing, deep breathing, visualization, positive affirmation, and guided imagery to name a few things that be able to help you overcome your fear.

Desensitization & Systematic Desensitization

This technique can work quite well for many people with needle phobias long as the patient is open to the idea. If you simply “don’t want to know” it’s not going to help make the phobia any better. It’s just that so few dentists even know about this technique that it’s not very often used. If you prefer something like this method then find a dentist who is willing to use it in their practice.

IV Sedition (Nitrous Oxide):

If much as the thought of needles have you terrified then maybe an IV sedation may be the way to go. Most people with severe needle phobias cannot tolerate dental needles in any way. IVs may work if we are able to take nitrous oxide to have an IV inserted that gives anesthesia. The needle is inserted after the person is already sedated from the nitrous oxide. Another alternative is in addition to this is to give an oral sedation beforehand to make you relax. The area where the IV is put in can also receive a topical solution called EMLA. EMLA should be applied several hours beforehand to guarantee the best results in not feeling the needle stick.

General Anesthesia:

This is a very last resort. If everything else fails and the person can endure no needles of any type. General Anesthesia can be used for things like extractions, it cannot be used for just filings and restorative work.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about us visit us here or call us 909-465-1016. The Ramona Dentistry Team “Where Family Comes First”
Click to listen highlighted text!