Often times when I get nervous patients in my practice and I ask them what it is that makes them nervous, most of the time the answer I get is that “I never get numb enough”, or “I hate the needle”, or “I hate how my mouth is numb forever”. Frankly, just because I am a dentist, doesn’t mean I like injections or being numb any more than my patients do.

I have always disliked needles and my worst fear about becoming a dentist was that I would never be able to give injections. After all, they really don’t feel good. I have been practicing dentistry since 1995 and up until about five years ago, I still struggled with giving my patients the dreaded injection. I was always on the look out for the next best thing that would get me out of being the bad guy, or in my case the bad gal!

I “met” Single Tooth Anesthesia (STA) at a dental convention in Anaheim six years ago. After hearing about the philosophy on its mechanism of action, I was bewildered and excited. Could it really be true that I can finally take the fear out of dentistry?

I told the representative from the company that I wouldn’t buy it till I could try it on a few patients. With all the confidence in the world she reassured me that I would love it and set up a date to come to my office for a whole afternoon and demo the machine.

I was blown away. I had always considered myself to be good at injections just because I am so scared of them myself. I always administered as slow as I could to minimize the discomfort. But I found out during my demo afternoon, that this machine was way better at it than I was ever going to be. What most patients don’t realize is that the needle doesn’t hurt. It is the anesthetic going in that burns. This machine delivers the anesthetic at such a slow rate, most people don’t even know they are getting an injection. I treated some toddlers that afternoon and was amazed that they never moved or winced or whined. They kept watching their movie as if nothing was going on. It also really helps that it looks like a straw. Most adults have pre-conceived notions about dental injections and the idea hurts more than the injection itself. However, since kids have no idea, they are the true test.

What is really neat about the STA Anesthesia delivery system, is that instead of giving blocks (meaning we numb half your face to work on one tooth), most of the time we can numb just the tooth. The anesthetic system talks to me and lets me know where I am relative to the ligament of a tooth so that I can numb a single tooth, hence its name, Single Tooth Anesthesia.

Why doesn’t every sensible dentist in the world have this cool technology? I am not sure, perhaps increased costs or learning a new technique scares some off. However, our team at Lifetime Smiles is dedicated to bringing our patients the latest and the best technology they deserve, in my opinion there is no cost too high to take away or alleviate the fear of dentistry. Some call me “dental tech junkie” but I remind them that I get my dentistry done at our office too, so we should all be comfortable.

If you hate being numb for hours after you leave a dental office, I also have that solution. In cases where we are working on multiple teeth in a quadrant and we have given a block, we can actually reverse the anesthesia with Oroverse. Oroverse has been around for a number of years and I love using it to reverse the dental anesthetic twice as fast, so that you can get back to your meetings, life, and most importantly, eating!

If you have any questions or would like to talk to us about Single Tooth Anesthesia, feel free to call our office at 760-747-1811. Also see our new patient promotions!
Happy smiles,
Dr. McDonald



Dr. Rabee McDonald

I am a 1995 graduate of the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Dental Medicine and completed my post-doctorate training at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center at Newark, New Jersey. I am proud to provide my patients with the best in dental technology, treatment options and patient comfort. I spend several weekends a year at the world renowned Spear Education center to keep up with best dentists in the world.