Needle Phobia

Needle phobia is a severe fear of needles or injections of any kind. Some people are fearful about injections only in the dental environment. Others avoid injections for medical examinations, blood work, vaccinations or medical procedures. This fear can lead people to avoid needed medical care. While the cause is often a learned fear from a bad experience, some doctors believe that the cause may actually be genetic. The question is, "What kinds of help are available for patients so they can receive the care they need. Our office has many levels of techniques, depending on the needs of the patient. The following are just some of the services available, from the easiest to the most advanced.

The first step is simple caring and understanding of the issue. We start with a frank discussion of the patients' past experiences which may include a previous doctor who was perceived as rough or stern. For many patients, letting them know that we have a gentle touch, backed by good technique is all they need. However, other patients may have a history of panic attack, or fainting associated with injections. For these more advanced cases, some type of medication to relax the patient is usually recommended. Some patients just need "something to take the edge off," others need a deeper level of sedation. Each patient is treated as an individual to give them what they need to be comfortable. We listen, and get the history of the patient's experiences so that we know how we can best help. Premedication with medication for anxiety is sufficient for most patients. It is often followed by deeper sedation if the dental procedures are prolonged or involved. Patients can have complete anesthesia just by breathing a gas, called an "inhalation induction," if needed. Advanced formulations of topical gels are available. We also have a device that uses ionophoresis, a light electrical current to allow medication to pass through skin. "The Wand" is available. It's a computer controlled device that controls the speed of injection, and therefore can create less pressure. "The Wand" looks a lot less like a syringe, which helps many people feel more secure. For some patients, just reading this article is very difficult. Just the thought of an injection may be too much for some people. Even so, there are ways we can help. Talk to us, and we'll work out a plan that addresses your concerns.

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