Needle Phobia Tips: Dealing With Dental Injections

While you might not have a problem with dental treatment in principle, you may find it hard to cope with appointments in practice if you have a needle phobia. Even checkups that don't involve any treatment can make you worry that your dentist may find something that needs a local anaesthetic in the future. Plus, If you do need an injection, then your stress levels may go through the roof.

To make things easier, tell your dentist about your phobia and how it affects you so that you can work together to minimise your stress levels when you're in the chair. For example, the following approaches may help if you need an injection in the future:

The 'don't look' approach

While some people have a fear of needle pain, others just don't like the sight of needles. If seeing a needle approach your mouth is your primary worry, or if this sight kick-starts your anxiety into action, then close your eyes or look away when your dentist is preparing to inject you. If the sight of a needle is your main phobia trigger, then this will help you stay calm.

Use numbing gel

If the pain of the injection is the main reason why you have a needle phobia, then your dentist can deal with this easily enough. Rubbing a numbing gel on the gum into which the needle will go temporarily makes your gum impervious to pain. This gives your dentist a small window to inject the anaesthesia painlessly. You may not even realise that you've had an injection until your dentist tells you that it's over.

Use your dentist's experience

Experienced dentists know how to minimise injection pain and will talk to you about how they will make the experience less stressful for you. For example, gum injections may hurt a little less if the anaesthesia is injected quite slowly; pain may also be reduced if your dentist presses down on the entry point after an injection.

Some dental surgeries have also started to use different ways to administer local anaesthetics. For example, computerised injection systems may offer a pain-free alternative to traditional needles. These systems give dentists better control over how and where the anaesthetic is placed into the gum. Newer spray-delivery systems don't even need to use needles—these systems spray an anaesthetic into the gum directly. To find out more about needle alternatives or other ways to manage your phobia, talk to your dentist.