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from the Academy of General Dentistry

Tuesday, December 7, 2021
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Does Needle Size Matter?

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."
Reviewed: January 2012