Local Anaesthetic Techniques: How Your Dentist Makes Your Teeth Numb

Local Anaesthetic Techniques: How Your Dental Team Make The Injection As Small A Deal As Possible

We’ve spoken before about the fact that many people really don’t like having a local anaesthetic injection, although the numbness delivered is almost universally preferred to having to experience dentistry without an anaesthetic!

While the thought of having a local anaesthetic injection might make your pulse race a little, with any luck you may have experienced the pleasant realisation after an injection has been delivered that the injection really wasn’t all that bad. Many dentists get a great sense of satisfaction when their patient says “Was that it? Have I already had the needle?”. That’s because dentists understand how big a deal having an injection is for many people. Some dentists feel exactly the same way when they are having dental treatment!

This article will explore the ways that dentists and their teams ensure that the injection you receive is delivered in a way that is as comfortable as possible.

Taking Time To Get To Know You

Your Corinna Dental team knows and understands that you are likely to be feeling a bit anxious about your treatment and having an injection. They realise how important it is to take great care of you and to be respectful of your needs. That’s why our dentists will take time to get to know you at the beginning of the appointment. This is an important time to let us know if you are feeling nervous and what most concerns you. This helps us to focus on these areas.

Topical Anaesthetics

Many dentists will use a topical anaesthetic gel to numb the surface of the gum prior to the local anaesthetic injection. While the gels don’t always taste very good, many people find that it helps to minimise the intensity of the initial ‘prick’ of the needle.


As mentioned before, it’s often a thing of great pride when a dentist receives feedback that their patient ‘didn’t feel a thing’ as the injection was done. Many dentists work hard to ensure that the delivery of the local anaesthetic injection is gentle and slow. Slow advancement of the needle and a gentle ‘inject a few drops as you go’ technique does a lot to minimise the sensation of the needle moving through the soft tissues.

Some dentists utilise other techniques. We’ve seen some dentists who pinch the lip or cheek near the injection site quite firmly as a means of distracting the attention away from the much more gentle progress of the needle. Others will use conversation as part of their distraction technique.

Is It Possible To Still Feel Something Even When The Injection Is Very Gentle?

It’s always possible that you will feel something when you receive an injection, even when the dentist’s technique has been very gentle.

After Care

After your appointment, it’s quite possible that you’ll continue to feel numb for several hours. Sometimes, depending on the location of the injection, the numbness won’t be very apparent: if an upper back tooth has been treated, the numbness is often very localised to the inner cheek and isn’t as noticeable as numbness affecting the lips. But in all cases, you should always be very careful not to accidentally chew any part of your mouth that has been numbed.

At Corinna Dental, you’ll find that our dental teams will provide you with detailed after-treatment instructions. You are always welcome to ask us questions about local anaesthetics and after-treatment care!