Least scary word for injection?

What is the least scary word for injection?

  • injection

    Votes: 4 9.3%
  • numbing shot

    Votes: 4 9.3%
  • jab

    Votes: 1 2.3%
  • to be numbed (i.e. try to avoid direct references)

    Votes: 27 62.8%
  • needle

    Votes: 1 2.3%
  • other (please reply in this thread to specify)

    Votes: 6 14.0%

  • Total voters
    43
letsconnect

letsconnect

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#1
We're redoing the website at the moment and in the process also rewriting some sections. I was wondering what the preferred term (least scary term) for "injection" is (in your opinion). Please only answer this question if you have a fear of injections!!

Also please let us know which words to definitely avoid!
 
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D

Dave48

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#2
Hi Letsconnect The least scary word would be freeze the gum one to avoid is Numb.



Dave.:)
 
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brit

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#3
'Let's get you numbed up' is a great way to broach it for adults..for kids 'putting the tooth to sleep' is probably better.

Dave, I prefer numb because it is the state you wish to achieve, the end result rather than focussing on the means. Saying freeze implies sth cold...and is focussing on the means of doing it....so unless you have a fear of numbness itself, I would have thought for most people 'numb' would be preferable to 'freeze'.
Those dentists who say 'do you want an injection?' and wave it in front of your face are simply clots. Don't like 'jab' either.
 
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gettingthere

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#4
As both a needle-phobic and sometime-linguist, I find this subject fascinating and have had a related conversation in PMs with Brit. First of all, I’m afraid to say that none of the words and phrases given are particularly helpful, but at least you have not included my most hated of all, the Scottish variant of jab, which is jag. A horrible ugly fear-inducing word if ever there was one. I did mention to Brit some time ago that I preferred jab because, at the time, it was slightly unfamiliar to me in these circumstances. Yes, I knew that most of the UK refer to their injections thus but for me, it did not carry the same connotations and so I was happy to use jab as a non-threatening word for what – to me – is a vicious act. That all changed with the wall-to-wall media coverage of the swine flu and HPV vaccinations and all of a sudden, jab was used interchangeably with jag up here and the previously innocuous word was now loaded with terrifying images and connotations which bring me out in a cold sweat, even when having seen or heard it used in non-medical/dental situations.

The problem with jab/jag is that they are commonly used in an attempt to soften the actual act of the injection by using a seemingly friendly, shorter and almost comical word, especially when talking to children. But, in the same way that the phrase “now this won’t hurt a bit” can strike fear into the heart of many people, so these words become more fear inducing over time and lost any softening effect they once had. Think also of how the word “special” used as a euphemism for a person with learning difficulties has become an insult in its own right. The phonetics of both words (especially jag) are also extremely harsh and abrupt, which makes the words themselves more difficult to deliver in a soothing tone. They also both focus on the act of injection and as such sound rather violent. A boxer, for example, will jab and punch therefore it conjures up images of needles being stabbed quickly into flesh, and also suggests some degree of afterpain.

So then we have the attempt to focus on the effects of the injection rather than the act itself by using the “getting numbed” phrasing variants. I can see why this usage is the preferable option for many phobics. As correctly identified in this thread however, this should also be exercised with caution as some people – including myself – are almost afraid of the numb sensation as the needle itself. Again, there is good reason for this due to the semantic history of the word “numb” which is traditionally used in a negative way. When people receive bad or devastating news they are often “numb” so the phrase “nice and numb” does not sit easy on a subconscious level with many people. For others it simply symbolises a loss of control and is therefore not a sensation to be welcomed.

Using the word “needle” is also unhelpful as it focuses the attention on the instrument itself, which is, in reality what most people fear. Many will say “I hate needles” as opposed to “I hate injections” simply because it is the instrument itself which causes any pain felt. Deep down, I think we all know that injections are generally a good thing; they keep us healthy and protected and would greatly welcome some new space-age technology that would allow these to be delivered in a non-invasive, pain-free way.

“Injection” itself is interesting as it is the “proper” clinical name for the event. That in itself can be terrifying to most phobics. For me however, and I assume at least some others, it is the “properness” of the word that makes it the most easily digestible (only by a whisker mind you – it’s still a scary word) as it does not patronise nor make the act of injecting sound particular violent. Also it is unlikely to pop in different situations and is therefore confined only to the medical/dental setting. Again however, there is an issue with phonetics as again we have a word with a harsh sounding J which many people, albeit subconsciously, will emphasise which makes the word sound harsher and more frightening than it needs to be. The difference between jab and injection in this context however is word length as injection contains enough softer sounds to make it, in the mouth of an experienced practitioner with good bed/chair-side manner, “flow” more easily with a more soothing tone. The “tion” sound in the final syllable is a naturally soft sound which can temper the word as a whole. Many moons ago, I studied linguistics and this is an area I have been considering over the past year or so – wishing I had thought of it at the time as I think that the way in which words and sounds are delivered and how this can greatly impact on the feeding or tempering of phobias would be an incredible and original project to work on!

I am aware this has been a very long post but, as I mentioned, it is a subject about which I feel particular emotive. I know that we have been asked to pick one and by saying that none are good, I may not really be helping the situation with regards to the design of the site but in terms of teaching dentists and allowing them to understand what makes phobic patients blood pressure rise further, I think it comes down to not which words are used but how they are used. I also think that dentists should be willing to ask new patients what word they would prefer. For me it would be injection, but I am sure that someone else will be able to contradict everything I have said by providing a compelling argument for jab. The truth is we all have different needs and should be treated – within the dentist’s office – as individuals who will react differently to different words.

I have not commented on “shot” as this is, I believe, a chiefly American variant and I can’t comment on how it comes across over there. I do like the description of putting a tooth the sleep when talking to children and hope that many dentists adopt this kind of language (my childhood dentist certainly didn’t) to ensure that we do not create yet another generation of phobics.

*Apologies also if some of the language and imagery is distressing. As a phobic myself I hope this does not cause any difficulties but in the context of the post, I needed to best illustrate the issues surrounding some of these words and phrases*


:hidesbehindsofa: :hidesbehindsofa: :hidesbehindsofa: :hidesbehindsofa:
 
R

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#5
My dentist just uses the word "local" or "local anesthetic" - non threatening, clinical but professional. I was there for a fractured tooth that hurt, he was referring me out to an endodontist- so no work on it that day- but he said "I can give you a local and give you relief from any pain for many hours.. "
 
C

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#6
I've always thought "Freezing" was a stupid way to refer to anesthetizing a tissue, but maybe that's just the linguistic difference between the UK and the USA. Freezing (to me) means killing something, so not good in any way. And it just feels like another of those sneaky terms medical professionals use when they don't want you to know what's going on. (Like talking about using "sleepy medicine" on my father when he was in the hospital.) I guess I prefer "local anesthesia". Jab and stab are never good. Bee sting is even worse. Pinch--never. Maybe there's just no good term for it. If I have to vote, go with the least visual, most accurate term. My preference is to be so high on nitrous that it doesn't really register.

Damn, just thinking about it (the situation, knowing that needle is coming) has given me chills and a racing heart.
 
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letsconnect

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#8
Hi Dave :), you mentioned you don't like the word numb.

gettingthere also said she doesn't like numb. For her, numb means a loss of control. And it reminds her of bad things. For example when people get bad news, they often feel "numb".

Can you explain why you don't like the word numb? Is it for the same reasons gettingthere gave, or because of something different?


(And thanks gettingthere for an extremely well thought-out and insightful post :respect:)
 
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brit

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#9
I think 'local' is fine and Gettingthere makes a great point about tone of voice...I think this is very true, delivered in a very soft sympathetic tone, 'I'll just give you an injection' may not be too threatening. Or better yet 'comfy injection' - contradiction in terms? Doesn't have to be.

Sounds like 'putting to sleep' might work for most people kids and adults (assuming we've never had a bad experience being put to sleep medically - probably less common than it once was with in-house gas mask GA experiences no longer being the norm.)

I can see what you mean about numb having some negatives - it doesn't for me though. 'Nice and numb' I like a lot. Numb and 'ability to relax' are interchangeable for me.

Gettingthere is also right about words becoming more threatening over time, for instance when I first joined this site and came across 'shot' , I thought what a good word, much better than injection but actually it's not...it now makes me think of gunshot wounds and it has been used countless times on here in connection with words like 'painful shot', 'awful shot' etc etc that it now seems worse than injection!

I find jab softer than jag although if you liked cars maybe Jag would be a distraction.

In medical settings I find 'just a little scratch' very acceptable since usually for me it feels like very little to nothing happened so I don't consider it to be a con.

I would be needle phobic if injections were very painful for me but because my experiences have been largely good in this area (except for toes), I am not. It is very important to me to go to a dentist who does not inflict unnecessary pain and therefore I always have good local delivery technique high up my list.

I would not be offended as an adult if my dentist used the childlike 'put the tooth to sleep' in fact as a one stop fix for all for the busy dental student, it might be safest option...unless someone knows different?

I suppose it then focuses on how then do we do this?

Interestingly one of my kids was freaked out by the use of 'bugs' to describe decay....he saw bugs in the American way as 'insects' whereas in UK a bug is more of a germ lol
Poor dentists they can't really win can they...yep ideally would be a question on the new patient intake form.
 
letsconnect

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#10
I think I like "give local" best as it would work for most people (for the website text I mean - doesn't offend anyone), though I also like "put the tooth to sleep" (I'll admit I'm a child at heart, lol). Some people might find that one condescending, but not me... like it a lot!

Great suggestions - keep them coming :D!
 
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kitkat

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#11
I'm not needle phobic so I won't vote as that might skew the results but I had to comment because I feel strongly about this subject!

First off, I'm American...I have never heard jag or jab used in the states but I would be very opposed to it. That would scare me...as gettingthere said...the word itself even sounds harsh and intimidating. Shot is equally intimidating as this conjures up childhood memories of painful injections at the pediatrician's office getting every immunization/vaccination for every possible ailment that has ever been documented on Earth (every immunization that they have figured out how to create anyway). It seems that an injection in the arm, however, is much more painful than an injection in the mouth (surprisingly, if done properly). I'm sure that has something to do with the number of pain-receptors, types of injections, types of tissues... but anyways, I digress.

I'm with Lets and Brit on this one. My current dentist uses "get you nice and numb" or "get you numbed up" and this is the least fear-inducing statement for me. Because I also equate numb with comfortable=not stressed=more relaxed. I guess this is because I fear the drill and find the option to be numb as a comfort...if you are fearful of the numbing sensation this would probably not be the best statement though. She has also tried the "put your tooth to sleep" with me and I actually didn't like it, I found it condescending but that's just me. She has also used the phrase "I'm going to give you some anesthesia" and I'm neutral to it...but it's not my favorite. I don't really have any negative associations with the word anesthesia so it doesn't particularly bother me but it doesn't provide comfort either necessarily. Never had the term "injection" used by the dentist but I'm sure I would feel about the same as I do about anesthesia but injection is a bit harsher sounding and conjures up a scarier mental image of the syringe making it less appealing. I don't like freeze...I associate freeze with a harsh sensation and it's off putting. "Numb" sounds far more comfortable than a "freeze". I don't think dentists can ever make everyone happy ...there is certainly no one-size fits all approach! Overall, indirect references such as "get you numb" are the most comforting in my case. Focuses on the reason for the injection/result rather than the injection itself.
 
chickenjen

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#12
We use the "bug" to mean germs here in the States, too. I was talking with a friend of mine and she warned me not to get too close to her because she "caught a nasty bug".
 
kitkat

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#13
I guess I prefer "local anesthesia". Jab and stab are never good. Bee sting is even worse. Pinch--never. Maybe there's just no good term for it.
I agree about "bee sting." Seriously who came up with that "comforting description"? Nobody is ever okay with being stung by a bee (bee stings HURT!) and some people are deathly allergic. I had one dentist use this description when I was a kid (around 7 or 8 years old) and it scared me to death...and it hurt! Not sure how much of it was "in my head" as I was consequently expecting a "bee sting" and how much was due to lack of technique but it left a last negative impression on me. "Pinch" is a little anxiety producing but not as bad as "bee sting" in my opinion. My dentist always says "small pinch" (and if I seem really anxious "teeny-tiny pinch" as if that helps?) just as she's injecting, almost automatically or without much thought, I'm not sure why (maybe so the patient doesn't jump if there is any unpleasant sensation?). I have never actually felt anything when she says that though so it doesn't really alarm me anymore but it did a little at first. Maybe she just doesn't want to get your hopes up by saying it's painless (just in case) but if it turns out you feel nothing than your pleasantly surprised as it's better than your expectation was. Or maybe she's just not all that confident in her abilities? Pity if that's the case because she's actually really good at giving them, perhaps I shall mention it to her next time...that the pinch that she speaks of never manifests.
 
Dr. Daniel

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#14
Hello
English is not my mother tongue. Having that said, I would like to suggest the medical term: "anesthesia".
Naturally it is preferable that the word be communicative and not threatening, and the term "anesthesia" is is not really so, but still it has many advantages:
You can play around with it buy using a longer term- "local anesthesia", using as a verb- "applying anesthesia" or "using anesthesia", passive form: "anaesthetised".
This term is suitable to all English speaking countries (as far as I know:confused:), and that is actually the medical term for it (local anesthesia).
But again, I am a dentist and so is a bit my vocabulary :), so any kind of feedback from you guys is welcomed.
 
G

gettingthere

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#15
Sometimes the obvious answer just stares us in the face :) . I think using the phrase "local anaesthetic"/"give a local" or other varient is the best option. It is descriptive of the effects without being negative and does not conjure up scary imagery of the implement used nor the action of injection. Best of all, it is clear and professional. What seems to be coming across here is that we phobics don't appreciate being talked down to or treated like children and that the use of euphamisms or attempting to dress up/talk down or otherwise disguise what is about to happen will immedately raise suspicions and fears. Of course the fear cycle is often set in childhood because this is when words like jab/just a scratch etc are used in an attempt to make the process less scary. Trouble is that if it hurts (and they always do :cry:) then any soothing effects of the words and phrases used are quickly lost so why not just use the proper word instead? I would also reiterate that words like injection or anaesthesia are unlikely to occur in non medical/dental contexts unlike some of the other words which have double meanings and can therefore trigger panic attacks and anxiety symptoms in the most innocent of situations. Somebody mentioned that "jag" might divert a motorist's attention to more pleasant thoughts - on the other hand, I have been in a situation where the word was used in conversation so much (with my petrol headed OH and brother-in-law) that it seemes to be every second word in the conversation and I could feel my blood pressure start to rise and heart rate quicken because my mind was doing involuntary leaps to the dentist/doctor's office.

Interesting debate about "numb" and how it can either be extremely comforting or extremely unsettling. I guess it shows we are all individuals with different fears around the same theme. Incidentally, I think that adding a question about what to call this action on a new patient questionnaire might be overkill but dentists could certainly bring it up in conversation ("I sense you don't like the word needle/numb/injection - would you prefer I use local/jab/etc instead?" or "are you comfortable with talking about being numb or would you prefer to say aneasthatised?" - and vice versa as appropriate). I can't say for sure but I am pretty confident my dentist had a conversation like that with me (incidentally he uses "injection" but again it comes down to the way it is said and his general manner that relaxes me). Dr Daniel also brings up an interesting point which is dealing with patients whose first lanaguage may not be English - and there are obviously readers on this site also - who may be confused by words like jab etc. I think being straightforward and professional is the way to go!

Incidentally, no one has ever said to me that an injection will feel like a bee sting but if they did, I think I would run a mile :o:o:o:o:o
 
brit

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#16
I agree we are all different and despite its widespread acceptability judging from posts on here, I am sure there are some people who get a mental image of a syringe when they hear 'local anaesthetic' which of course stands for 'local anaesthetic injection'.
Unfortunately even though dental injections can be done without pain with the correct technique most people will have had at least one slightly painful encounter with a syringe as a child for vaccinations etc...giving blood can be done as 'barely a scratch' though.

I think the percentage of people who are scared of numbness is quite small so for many focussing on the end result is a real benefit: 'let's get you nice and numb first'.

You can't use 'local' with a child as they will have no concept of what 'local anaesthetic' is.
 
R

RP

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#17
I think the point was we "phobics" are embaraased enough without being treated like children. A little bit of respect goes a long way.

The language with kids should be different- here I think magic sleepy juice works....



I agree we are all different and despite its widespread acceptability judging from posts on here, I am sure there are some people who get a mental image of a syringe when they hear 'local anaesthetic' which of course stands for 'local anaesthetic injection'.
Unfortunately even though dental injections can be done without pain with the correct technique most people will have had at least one slightly painful encounter with a syringe as a child for vaccinations etc...giving blood can be done as 'barely a scratch' though.

I think the percentage of people who are scared of numbness is quite small so for many focussing on the end result is a real benefit: 'let's get you nice and numb first'.

You can't use 'local' with a child as they will have no concept of what 'local anaesthetic' is.
 
F

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#18
I vote we call it the "happy mister going to numb you now tool that makes it so you can't feel anything". It's cute and unintelligible - therefore not frightening. Or is it...? Hmmm.... :innocent:

(Not actually suggesting this, just being silly :D)

On a serious note, "local/local anesthetic" works best IMO.

xx
 
F

fox

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#19
I think the point was we "phobics" are embaraased enough without being treated like children. A little bit of respect goes a long way.

The language with kids should be different- here I think magic sleepy juice works....
"Magic sleepy juice" makes me smile. Literally, and in reference to this post as well. :)
 
letsconnect

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#20
I vote we call it the "happy mister going to numb you now tool that makes it so you can't feel anything". :innocent:
That gets my vote, too :D!

Truth be told, I don't think I would have even known what "local anaesthesia" meant when I first went. I can't really remember though... all I know is that most people have a pretty low dental IQ. Whereas "putting a tooth to sleep" or "numbing" are easily understood by all. Probably also "injection".
 
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