Fear of going to the dentist keeps millions of people from getting good care. For many, it's the thought of getting a shot to numb their mouth that keeps them away.
Now, there's a better way. It's the same Novocaine-type medicine, just given in a painless way.
It's the anxious question pediatric dentist Dr. Krizia Proia gets most from her patients at the Brookdale Hospital Dental Clinic: Am I gonna get the shot today?
Eight-year-old Samir Bailey seemed pretty relaxed about his cavity filling thanks to the deceptively simple device called "The Wand."
It doesn't look like the view many patients see in the chair of a scary looking syringe coming at them. Instead, they see a long, slim, pen-like device.
"Often I'll just say 'I'm gonna take out my pen, tap on your tooth, and the tooth is gonna go do sleep'. It doesn't look like a regular syringe, they're automatically at ease, they don't know what to expect," Dr. Proia said.
The secret to the comfort factor is fairly simple. First, it's a very fine needle. Then, the actual injector delivers the anesthetic in a slow, controlled manner so there's no uncomfortable sense of pressure.
Samir's mom says her son was so comfortable with the want that he even told his friends about it.
"He fell asleep with The Wand because he was comfortable with it," Angelline Shelton said.
An added plus is that because The Wand's needle is so thin, dentists can actually numb just the one tooth they're working on instead of numbing half the lower jaw.
"They don't like the feeling of being numb," Dr. Proia said. "They complain my lip feels fat, it feels big."
If you start with a less traumatic experience when kids first go to the dentist, you'll likely end up with fewer adult dental-phobes which means better life long dental health.