It’s Like Magic!
If something doesn't look like a needle and doesn't feel like a needle, will it hurt like a needle? It shouldn't! That's what dentists who use a device called the Wand hope. The Wand is a popular form of computer-generated anesthesia that relies on a small computer attached to a pen-like device to deliver a constant slow flow of dental anesthesia. That's important because what causes that stinging feeling with a shot of local anesthesia is actually the pressure of the liquid entering your tissue, not the needle itself.
Computer-generated anesthesia is just one more tool your dentist can use to help ease your dental anxiety. Your comfort at the dentist's office is important! After all, you're more likely to visit the dentist regularly if you're not overwhelmed with dental anxiety at the mere thought of it.
Where’s the Needle?
The Wand consists of two parts: a small computer tower and a wand-like device with a needle attached to the end of it. You might be surprised at how simple computer-generated anesthesia is for your dentist to use. Your dentist starts by applying a topical anesthetic to help numb the injection site. Once the numbness settles in, your dentist will gently press on the foot pedal to begin administering the local anesthetic.
If you still have your eyes open at this point, what you'll see next isn't a sterile-looking metal syringe, but a pen-like handpiece with a tiny needle attached to the end. It's connected to the computer via thin plastic tubing. You may feel a little pressure as the needle enters the tissue, but no pain. That's because the flow of local anesthesia is computer-controlled to assure a slow, steady pace. Your dentist can focus on holding the device in the right position while the computer makes sure the anesthesia isn't entering your tissue too quickly. More precise delivery of anesthesia may mean fewer shots to produce the desired numbing effect. The entire process takes about a minute.
Computer-generated anesthesia devices such as the Wand have their advantages, including:
Appearance -- The devices don't look scary! That translates into a lot less fear of needles and getting an injection of local anesthesia.
Ease of Use -- The Wand is lightweight and easy to hold and manipulate. This makes it easier for your dentist to guide the needle into the tissue. The better the aim, the more likely it is that the numbing agent will be delivered to the right location.
Effectiveness -- Research suggests that slower delivery of local anesthesia is perceived as more comfortable than traditional shots. This is true even in potentially painful areas such as the palate, where the tissue isn't very elastic.
No Magic Wand
In spite of the benefits, computer-generated anesthesia hasn't become the norm in dentistry just yet. Computer-generated anesthesia devices such as the Wand take time to learn and aren't cheap, and your dentist may be trying to save you money. Some dentists are satisfied with their current techniques for pain management.
A pain-free dental experience is one that may ease your dental anxiety. The less anxious you feel, the more likely you are to regularly visit your dentist, which is good for your health. Let us help find you a dentist who uses sedation dentistry!