A: Many dentists think that a palatal injection has to hurt no matter what they have tried. This does not have to be true. In dental school, we were all taught to inject slowly. The problem is that when giving a palatal injection human nature takes over. The patient wants the injection to be completed quickly and the dentist wants to comply.
So here are my recommendations for a comfortable palatal injection. First, topical is a must. I use either benzocaine or EMLA (eutectic mixture of lidocaine and prilocaine). You must first dry the mucosa before placing the topical. I then cover the topical with gauze and have the patient bite down. This way the topical stays in place. I set a timer for two minutes and wait for it to go off.
Now here is where technology can help. Accupal is a battery powered, handheld device designed to precondition palatal tissue prior to an injection. The head of the Accupal device is placed against the palate (where the topical was placed) and switched on. The unit will light up the area and start to vibrate. You then place the needle through the hole in the head of the devices. Slowly inserting the needle into the mucosa and injecting slowly. In most cases the patient never even feels the injection.
More information and videos are available on the Accupal Web site.
The Accupal Comfortable Palatal Injection System. Image courtesy of Accupal.
Martin Jablow, D.M.D., is a practicing dentist and a self-professed technophile who lectures and blogs on a variety of technologies used in dentistry (dentechblog.blogspot.com). If you have a technology question for Dr. Jablow, e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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