Palatal anesthesia is often necessary and one of the most unpleasant things we do for patients. There are a number of ways today to reduce the stick of a palatal injection from using the “Wand” from Compudent to buffering your anesthetic from Onpharma. Even with all this new technology I still find patients hate even the idea of a palatal injection. many years ago I learned a method for obtaining palatal tissue anesthesia without the stick. I follow my routine of beginning with topical gel. I inject a quarter carpule of carbocaine plain as an infiltration. I
I recently received an e-mail from a Dentist in Canada after he read the post I did on October 20, 2011 entitled “Inferior Alveolar Nerve Block”. What prompted the original post was a wave of missing this block in my office. I went back and did some research on how the block works, how often it is effective (or not), and shared some technique tips for increasing how often it works the first time. I will say that incorporating the things from the post made a huge difference for me, and I have not had a “spell” of missed blocks since, just the usual one here and there that doesn’t work.
When I first read Andrew’s E-mail I have to confess in my head I said “Actually I haven’t noticed this.” Of course one of the things that I know about learning is that once I learn something it seems to show up all the time and I wonder how often in the past I simply didn’t see the signs before. Andrew’s e-mail worked the same way. I started observing the tension in the muscles, the feel of the needle penetration, and sure enough it seemed to correlate to the times I had to go in and block a second time.
So the trend in my life for the past week or so has been circling around inferior alveolar nerve blocks, both managing when I miss and answering questions for other dentists about this technique. Periodically over my twenty plus years in practice I hit a spell where I miss this block more often than usual. I have learned over the years that when this happens going back to basics, and reviewing the technique and the current thoughts always helps get me back on track, so that’s what I did this week.
One of the things that helps grow my practice more then any other, is the lengths I go to making sure it is as comfortable as possible when I give anesthesia. Whether patients are anxious about getting the “shot” or not, not one looks forward to it. and all of us brace ourselves in anticipation. Over the years I have continued to refine my anesthetic technique, because over and over patients comment on how surprised and pleased they are by how comfortable it is. When new patients arrive in our office on a referral, we hear over and over that their friends couldn’t believe how little our shots hurt, and how much effort we went to making them comfortable.