Reports hit the press this week reporting on some research that is being done on dental anaesthetics to make them more comfortable.  At present some of the more commonly used anaesthetics are acidic, which can mean at point of first contact you can feel a little discomfort. The acidity is caused by some of the preservatives used to keep anaesthetic effective while it is waiting to be used.

The new development involves a special cartridge that will mix 2 parts of the anaesthetic together just before use thus doing away with the need for a preservative. Sadly researchers think it will be a few years before this makes its way out of the laboratory and into our hands in practice.

In the mean time here are the things that we already know can help to make injection pain a thing of the past.

1. Using lots of surface anaesthetic gel… favourite is bubble gum flavour!

2. Warming the anaesthetic to body temperature – makes for a more comfortable injection

3. Injecting very very slowly… this way the anaesthetic soaks in- believe me the first time someone gives you a really slow injection you will know the difference immediately.

4. Using techniques that allow us to avoid the most sensitive areas- there are many ways of numbing a tooth up so if you are someone who normally feels it a lot, tell your dentist and they can try an alternative approach.

Finally we know that in a heightened state of anxiety we often experience  pain  vividly more than we do when we are relaxed…… so a great self help tool is to start working on self relaxation techniques well before your visit. This way when you are  with the dentist you can use some of these techniques to reduce and control your anxiety levels.   If you need any suggestions or ideas just get in touch.

Dr. Fraser Hendrie BDS (Glasg.) MFGDP (UK)

Fraser is a Glasgow graduate with over 20 years of experience. He is the one of the principal dentists at Craigentinny Dental Care in Edinburgh. He has a reputation for consistent, high quality work and a love of innovation. Many of Dr Hendrie’s patients travel from the far reaches of Scotland, the UK and beyond. So wherever you live from Portobello or around Edinburgh to further afield he will be pleased to meet you. He is a member of the Student Clinicians of the American Dental Association, British Dental Association, the Association of Dental Implantology, and has studied at the Pankey Institute in Miami on several occasions. Fraser has particular interests in Dental Implantology, Preventive dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry and information technology. Fraser has also been admitted to the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners by examination. Fraser is married with two young children and lives in Edinburgh. In his free time he enjoys running, cycling, and kite-surfing.