• Dental Phobia Support

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Overcoming fear of novacaine



Junior member
Apr 10, 2009
I'm just so beyond happy! ;D. My biggest fear after 2 bad experiences was my fear of getting novacane. The last 2 experiences i felt faint and started shacking, literately uncontrollably where the dentist and assistants were so scared they gave me the name of a dentist they thought might work with me. To say the least i felt humilated and scared that I could never have novacane again. Well the dentist they sent me to, didn't work out either. But after some research I found sedation dentistry. For my cavities, which i kept putting off and then a root canal I used sedation. Which let me tell you was a god sent. It was costly but it was a solution to getting my work done. Just recently they told me i would need scaling (a deep cleaning for my pockets that were at 4 and 5) and they said the dreaded word NOVACANE to me. When i got home i literately felt like crying. I can't afford doing sedation for EVERYTHING and i really wanted to get past this fear. Well i took the leap. I took .75mg of Xanax and had my dad drive me (little embarrassing since i'm 41). But who cares it was what i needed. I got the novacane and i felt my heart racing but i told myself this sometimes happens and it will pass. Well it did and I made it thru. Next appt for scaling i'm going to drive myself but take less xanax.
I can't tell you want a relief it is to know that I could get thru it and it wasn't so bad. The main thing i told myself it "who cares" what's the worst that can happen, i faint, i shake uncontrollable... they have to stop and give me gas. I just played in my mind what Rocky said in his last movie, if you want to go after what you want, you got to be willing to take the hits. And walking into that office is like takeing a hit in the gut, but i want to get better to i took my hit today. I'm actually stunned, i made it thru it.
Anyway just wanted to share, this website is my saving grace! :cool:

ps. i also was fearful of the novacane numbness but i just tell myself novacanes a good thing! and it's very safe and doesn't take to long to were off. :)
Oh, I SOOOOOO understand this.

I dread "the needle" at the dentist myself. In fact, I've (more than once) made dental appointments only to cancel them a day or so ahead of time just because the anxiety of that needle got so great.

It does not matter in the least that I consciously understand that my fear is irrational. When I was a kid, my dentist did not use that wonderful cotton swab with the topical anesthetic on it before coming at me with a needle, and all I remember of getting those shots was that he'd jab that sucker in the roof of my mouth (which HURT!) and I would have sworn he was pushing it in far enough to hit my brain.

I've never been to any other dentist that gave Novocaine shots that way, but it doesn't matter. I dread them because even the thought of one sends me back to those days of having to sit while Dr. Walters drove needles into my brain.

I've got no problem with a dentist doing anything he wants to me after I'm numb. Heck, I can't feel it, so what do I care? But I have an almost impossible time even getting to that point because of my fear of a needle in a dentists hand.

I'm now living on a very small VA pension, so I had stopped going to dentists because I couldn't afford it for several years. I finally had a tooth (with a filling in it) sheer off, and I knew I was going to have to go have it fixed or I was going to end up with an even worse situation than I already had.

I applied with a local "Donated Dentistry Service" and was approved. The dentist that agreed to take me on did an examination of my mouth and said he could re-fill that tooth instead of having to crown it (good!) and also said I needed a deep-scaling and root-planing (oooh, not so good).

I made an appointment to get the tooth filled, and I knew I couldn't back out on it, because the Donated Dental Service said that if I missed any appointments, they'd call my file closed and wash their hands of me.

Needless to say, I lived in dread up until the appointment day. I did tell the dentist about my dental-needles phobia and -- I have to admit -- he was extremely gentle and I didn't feel a thing while he was giving me the shots.

But phobias aren't rational to begin with, so it's not like I then decided Novocaine shots didn't bother me anymore. And I knew that I was going to have to get more when they did the deep scaling. Which they were going to do in two visits, so that meant at least two more times.

Several days ago, I decided to just admit that I knew I was being a total baby about the whole thing. I spoke to my regular doctor and asked for "two BIG Valium pills" to take before my next two appointments. She wrote out the prescription (and actually gave me 3 pills...why I don't know). And yes, I had my father (I'm 57 years old) drive me to my dentist appointment yesterday, and he's going to drive me again next Monday for my second appointment. I do not need to be out crashing my car into things because I'm zonked on Valium.

It helped. It really helped. Yes, I still dreaded it, but not to the point that I was involuntarily holding my breath and practically passing out. I also managed to sleep the night before the appointment because I knew I had something to help me deal with it.

And no, actually getting the shots didn't hurt any more than it did last time.

And yes, I have every intention of taking a second pill this coming Monday before my next appointment.

From now on, any time I have to go to the dentist, if there's any chance that I will require a Novocaine shot, I will be taking a Valium one-hour ahead of my appointment time. Yes, I'm a big baby, and I'll happily shout that fact from the rooftops if I need to.
When they put gel on your gums you barely feel the shot if at all. Ask for more gel. I have to get a tooth pulled and am petrified. Funny thing is, I'm not scared of the shots--the part everyone else is scared of. I'm afraid of the extraction, the part everyone says is painless! Go figure!
So I didn't get why. What are your concerns that make you so anxious? Please try to detail your answer.
So I didn't get why. What are your concerns that make you so anxious? Please try to detail your answer.

my fear went from no fear of the dentist to scared out of my mind. And all to do with the novacaine. it happened when my denist i had all my life retired and i ended up with a new dentist, even though i didn't think that bothered my it's interesting the timing. my fear of novacaine is the fear of having a "reaction" to it. The time things fell apart was i got the injection had the cavity filled then went to get up and leave. I felt faint and asked to sit back down. the my whole body started shaking and that scared me and was incredibly embarassing. They were looking at me like i had 3 heads. I summed in up to maybe i didn't eat enough or dehydration and for my next filling i went back and of course was scared again, this time they put in just a little novacaine (i think even with out the adreneline part) and right away a paniced and felt faint. After that i was sure I was having some strange reaction to the novacaine and even though i have a histroy of panic attacks, i NEVER had one that bad so i was convince novacaine put me into shock. But now i realize it really was JUST a panic attack. because i've had it twice now and i didn't feel faint at all. and i didn't shake. I had anxiety but that wasn't from the novacaine, it was just my regular anxiety. Hope that explains better ----sorry such a long explaination.
So I didn't get why. What are your concerns that make you so anxious? Please try to detail your answer.

I have had a bad experience with the dentist at a young age (14 years old) They made me get a pre root canal when I later found out that I didn't need that and they used a lot of novacain (5 shots). I have changed dentists, but since then, I cant even get a cavity filled without being anxious. I unconsciously start to tremble (according to my mother) and I start sobbing. The dentists don't know what to do.

My fear generally stems from the pain of the needle. I don't like anything in my mouth that isn't food. Hence, I hate the needle. I also hate the fact that sometimes one novacain shot wouldn't be enough. At the old (bad) dentist, they gave be 2 novacain shots and began the root canal procedure, but halfway through, I felt the pain to the extreme and they had to inject me with more and more novacian. That is part of my fear as well (that the novacain will not work and I will need more)

Also, I hate the noises that the machine makes

Even today, I went to get 2 fillings and I couldn't do it. I was too afraid of the needle and the whole procedure (even though it was just a cavity!) After a half hour, I had to go home because I was trembling, crying, and just a mess.

I just don't know if I could ever be able to get over this fear.
What I've learned from my personal experience (from feeling faint and once actually passing out) is that for me, this is the result of a vasovagal reaction. I used to think it was the epi in the anesthetic, but that is incredibly unlikely as the amount of epi I'm the anesthetic is surely WAY less than my anxious body is producing. Vasovagal reactions are a fairly common fear response that causes the blood to rush to the extremities which decreases blood flow to the brain and vital organs. This is what causes the sick feeling and sometime fainting. I also have a fear of having a reaction to any type of injection (though after a TON of dental work over the last 6 years or so, I have way less fear of dental anesthetic than I do to other injections). The good news about vasovagal reactions is that there is a very easy fix -- lay down with legs elevated. This forces blood back to your brain - and you WILL NOT pass out. For me, just knowing that I cannot pass out if I am laying down eases some of my anxiety. I know a lot of propel dread being totally horizontal in The Chair (and, it took me a long time going to the same dentist to not be super uncomfortable with it), but I know that, for me, this is what prevents me from passing out. I often have to ask to stay flat until I feel the queasiness pass. I hope this is helpful and provides some information about what may be happening. Best of luck!
Yeah I'm deathly afraid of needles, I don't even like getting shots. I'm just so afraid of how much it might hurt. But the girl that's going to be doing it today kinda made me feel better when she said they as students practice on one another, and that it isn't all that bad.
Jaylah.. your story is my story. I don’t care what happens after I’m numb it’s the numbing agent that sends me into orbit and sets off my anxiety. I’m 53 and need work but can’t bring myself to do it. I’m very very sensitive to drugs and even taking a Valium is scary. I’m new to this forum and trying to find the courage to go. Thank you for sharing your story.
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