Overview

Children who undergo early painful experiences during dental procedures are likely to carry negative feelings toward dentistry into adulthood. Therefore, it is important that clinicians make every effort to minimize pain and discomfort during dental treatment. The simplest and most effective method of reducing pain during dental procedures is via an injection of local anesthetic. Unfortunately, the anticipation of receiving a “shot” tends to increase anxiety in the child and results in negative behavior before, during and after the injection process. Many dentists, wishing to circumvent such negative behavior, forego administering local anesthesia for restorative treatment especially for primary teeth. However, there are times when an anticipated “minor” procedure becomes a major procedure, placing the patient in a painful situation because of the lack of dental anesthesia and resulting in negative behavior.