All dental professionals are aware of the negative effects of dental phobia. This widespread phenomenon leads otherwise healthy people to neglect their dental health for fear of pain during dental procedures, both routine and specialized. A team of researchers set out to determine just how effective modern anesthetics are, and how this information can be used to encourage more patients to stop avoiding trips to the dentist.
There were fourteen different types of anesthetics studied during the trial. Each of them is commonly used. While the results are complex, this is the headline: All of them work quickly, and effectively1. Because all of these are injected directly into a specific area of the mouth, patients consistently begin to feel numbness within minutes, or in some cases, seconds. Furthermore, researchers reported a negligible amount of adverse effects.
While this may not come as a shock to those who administer anesthetics on a regular basis, these findings are not common knowledge amongst the general public, which could account for over 36% of Americans who report some level of dental phobia2.
There are a number of factors responsible for the persistence of dental phobia despite the availability of highly effective, pain-preventing treatment. For many, the thought of having novocaine (or other anesthetics) injected is particularly anxiety-inducing. However, this trial has shown that numbing agents can take effect instantly, allowing for a pain-free procedure from start to finish.
Younger generations seem to be less susceptible to dental phobia, due to the dramatic increases in the quality of dental care over the past few decades. While this is heartening, it is important to reach out to all people and help them understand that modern anesthetics allow for exceptionally comfortable dental treatment.
- St George, Geoffrey, et al. “Injectable Local Anaesthetic Agents for Dental Anaesthesia.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 10 July 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6513572/.
- Beaton, Laura, et al. “Why Are People Afraid of the Dentist? Observations and Explanations.” Medical Principles and Practice: International Journal of the Kuwait University, Health Science Centre, S. Karger AG, 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5586885/.
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Article title: How Effective Are Modern Anesthetics During Dental Procedures?