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Why are modem injections considered less painful?



Oct 6, 2010
I keep reading things along the lines of “with modern dentistry injections aren’t as painful as they used to be”. Why? What’s the reason for this and when did it happen? Is it due to different attitudes or new equipment?

I’m also curious what’s changed in dentistry in this regard over the last 20-30 years.
This is a great question! I am curious to see what the dentists say.

From my perspective, technique seems to play a big part.
Also I do know that beliefs have changed. When I was a kid, I had to have a lot of baby teeth pulled due to them not coming out on their own and the permanent teeth were impacted. I also had to have four permanent premolars extracted. My childhood dentist would first try to pull the teeth without any anesthesia, then when I cried, he gave me a very painful shot, but just one and it never worked well. I was terrified to go to the dentist because it almost always meant another tooth was going to get pulled.
My endodontist last year told me that when she first started practicing dentistry, it was a common belief that kids didn’t feel as much pain as adults, so dentists wouldn’t numb them as much, if at all, especially for baby teeth extractions.
Hi merlin,

everything changed about dentistry within the last 20-30 years. It became a service so providers are interested in making it comfortable. Which leads to better techniques - we now know that a slow injection is more comfortable, we have numbing gels, we know which direction to turn the needle so that it’s less painless. It is taught differently in dental schools and even for later points in the carreer, there are courses in painless injection techniques. :)
The needles are generally cut by laser now so the tips are incredibly sharp, the cartridges that contain the local are better made, so the solution comes out much more smoothly (it's fast squirts of fluid that cause pain (get your minds out of the gutter!)).

Surface anaesthetics are both much more effective and more commonly used (probably because they're more effective if you see what I mean).
So, is some of the information out there regarding the nature of injections outdated already? Eg there are many academic papers and websites claiming that palatal injections are traumatic for the patient. This seems to go against what I sometimes read on sites like this one.
Is this a case of the word “trauma” being used too much? In the sense a simple bruise could be referred to as “deep tissue trauma” by a medical professional?
Yes, academic papers aren't intended for lay people. There's no excuse for any injection causing trauma these days.