Most people would admit to being fearful of something. That something might be a fear of heights, a fear of crowded or small spaces, a fear of spiders, or a fear of the dentist, with the latter being most common. While most people who are afraid of the dentist are not necessarily afraid of the overall dental experience, they often dread the discomfort associated with the dental needle. This apprehension can not only cause a lot of anxiety and stress, but ultimately, it can lead some people to avoid going to the dentist. Our job is to continue to seek out new products and techniques that can make dental anesthesia less painful. Towards that end, we have recently begun using a device called the Vibraject Injection Comfort System. The Vibraject is a small battery operated motor that clips onto the dental syringe. When turned on, it vibrates similar to the way that a cell phone vibrates. It operates based on the principles of the Gate Control Theory of Pain. It is thought that one sensory input to the brain can close the nerve “gates” to a different sensory input, thereby decreasing the sensation of pain that reaches the brain. The vibrations from the Vibraject can help to override the pain signals from the needle, so the patient feels less pinching and stinging from the needle and more vibration and buzzing from the Vibraject.
Since incorporating this new injection comfort system into our practice, we have had great feedback from our patients. They have expressed feeling less pain from the needle, which has put them more at ease during their treatment and made them less anxious about upcoming appointments. We are pleased to have another method to reduce their anxiety and increase their comfort while in the dental chair.