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Dental care and oral health information you need
from the Academy of General Dentistry

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Know Your Teeth Academy of General Dentistry Know Your Teeth


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Pacifiers Have Negative and Positive Effects


There is an association between pacifier use and acute middle ear infections (otitis media).

Press Releases

Does Needle Size Matter?

CHICAGO (August 20, 2007) - Many people are hesitant to visit the dentist for a variety of reasons, such as concerns about the pain that may be involved.  For many patients, needles (as well as needle size) in particular may invoke a great deal of anxiety. However, in a study from the May/June 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal, researchers found that there was no difference in pain perception regarding the size of the needle used to inject anesthesia, which helps to make patients comfortable during dental procedures.


One of the study's authors, Michael J. Wahl, DDS, says that there was no difference in the pain that patients perceived when using larger-diameter (wider) needles.  "Many assume that small diameter needles (and therefore smaller puncture wounds)mean less injection pain—but that's not what we found.  For perceived injection pain, size doesn't matter."


However, Gene Antenucci, DDS, FAGD, and an AGD spokesperson, feels that patients become fearful when they see the needle.  "Often times, when a patient sees a needle coming, the pain perception is heightened," he says. However, dentists can do a number of things to make a patient feel comfortable.  "To ease their fears, it often helps to focus on relaxing by breathing regularly and slowly.  Patients can also use hand signals to indicate when they are uncomfortable."


No matter the gauge of the needle, the most important factor in overcoming dental anxiety is a good dentist/patient relationship. "Dental anxiety is a real condition," Dr. Antenucci says.  "I encourage my patients to speak to me about their concerns.  If I am aware of their fears, I will work with them."


What can I do to relieve dental anxiety?


  • Avoid caffeine before a dental appointment.
  • Eat high-protein foods, which produce a calming effect, unlike sugary foods.
  • During the procedure, focus on breathing regularly and slowly. When you are nervous you tend to hold your breath, which decreases oxygen levels and further increases feelings of panic.
  • Talk to the dentist about specific fears and concerns. He or she can go a long way to dispel any negative or frightening images.

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up-to-date in the profession through continuing education. Founded in 1952, the AGD has grown to become the world's second largest dental association, which is the only association that exclusively represents the needs and interests of general dentists. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services related to patients' oral health needs. Learn more about AGD member dentists or find more information on dental health topics at www.KnowYourTeeth.com.

Note: Information that appears in General Dentistry, the AGD's peer-reviewed journal, AGD Impact, the AGD's newsmagazine and related press releases do not necessarily reflect the endorsement of the AGD.


*For a complete list of oral health and industry press releases, visit the AGD News Releases.

Need help?
Contact the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)'s public relations team:

Lauren Henderson

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