“As a practice, we’re very focused on providing the very best patient experience possible. As part of that, we offer a range of patient-calming treatments such as hypnosis, aromatherapy and massage, as well as intravenous sedation.
And since I have a particular interest in nervous patients, I’m always looking out for new dental technologies that will help me improve our service to patients.
So when I first came across Injex, I saw it as another potentially important tool that could be of help not just to those patients who come to us with a real fear of needles and injections, but to anyone who would appreciate their dental treatment being as comfortable as possible.
I’ve been offering Injex to my patients for a few years now, and I use it for a wide range of treatments, including awkward extractions, though not yet for any impacted wisdom teeth. I also tend not to use Injex on children simply because I’m using other methods like neuro-linguistic programming as a way to distract them.
Injex isn’t something that I have ever had to ‘sell in’ to my patients – it’s just something that I present as a possible choice, and one that many seem to be naturally drawn to as I describe what it’s all about, and the benefits of using it in comparison with other options.
So, overall, even though there’s a premium of £20 for its use, Injex has been very well received, with most patients choosing it again when they need further treatment. I’d say that there are probably only about five per cent of patients who, for one reason or another, perhaps because it’s a different sensation that they just aren’t used to, choose to go back to traditional injectable anaesthetic in preference.
For a number of reasons, with Injex I probably do have to spend a little more time managing the expectations of my patients than I would when using standard local anaesthetic, especially as they are often the more nervous patients anyway. One of the issues that does come up from time to time is that without the feeling of widespread numbness in the gum that they would normally expect, some patients aren’t convinced that the gum itself is sufficiently anaesthetised, so they think they are going to feel something when actually they won’t.
So before we begin, I make sure that I run through the procedure, explaining exactly what is going to happen and when, and this includes telling them about the click that they will hear from the trigger, which is something that can be unsettling if you aren’t ready for it. But once patients have experienced Injex a few times, the whole process becomes much more natural to them, and they’re also more confident because they know it works.
Though we have used Injex to promote the practice to would-be patients, we haven’t made it a regular element of our marketing activity. In large part, that’s because one of our primary marketing tools is a newsletter and with so many things to talk about, like all our other treatments, practice events and news, we are always short on space.
From a personal perspective, I enjoy using Injex – it feels light and balanced in the hand and I haven’t had to change my ‘injection’ technique, so there’s no having to think when I go back to using a needle. I inject to the apex of the tooth, though I generally use Injex for ‘short bursts’ of treatment on just one or two teeth at a time, and local anaesthetic for when I’m doing a lot of work and want to have a broader effect.
There is a bit of a learning curve to using Injex, though not a steep one. But given the natural instinct of dentists not to want to hurt their patients, I think that has led some other dentists within the practice to stick with traditional local anaesthetic rather than run the risk of causing any discomfort.
Injex is now very much part of my ‘toolbox’, something that I have confidence in, and which I continue to use on a daily basis when it’s the most appropriate treatment for my patients.”
Adam Randall is Managing Director of Gentle Dental UK Ltd, a 20-strong practice in Newquay, Cornwall that he has owned since 1993. He qualified in Birmingham in 1990 and has a special interest in periodontology and the nervous patient.