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Local Anesthesia Certification

After 28 years as a hygienist, I am back in school to earn my Restricted Anesthesia Certification. I have given 3 injections in the presence of my instructor so far. I do not feel confident that by the time the course is done (2 more classes) I’ll be able to do this on my own. Has anyone else recently gone through this? I’m a normally quick learner, but I’m worried that I won’t have developed enough skill and confidence to inject properly on my own.



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19 Answers

I was a hygienist for 24 yrs prior to going back for local anes certification. I’ve been giving injections for 3 yrs now. Hands on is the best learning tool. I thought I’d never comprehend or learn to do a mandibular block– but these are the easiest to me. I consider myself still learning and practicing to improve especially on upper premolars to premolar injections. Don’t be afraid to practice. Ask some of your coworkers if they would let you practice on them. It gets easier every time. If your doctor has “the Wand” it’s even easier.

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I had a similar experience and told my boss about it. He and the associates were really helpful and sat in the chair for me and we all worked on it until I felt comfortable to actually anesthetise pts. Hopefully your boss and co workers can step in to help you as wee:)

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I had the same fear too when I was learning how to administer anesthesia. I found out though that I was more comfortable and confident giving the injection when it was only myself in the room, because I wasn’t afraid of my instructor watching/hovering over me. Just remember to always locate the patient’s anatomy before hand since everybody is different and you’ll do great!

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I am still a student in my second year and just passes the clinical anesthesia exam here in Oregon. I feel anesthesia has a high learning curve to it. The PSA was the hardest for me to get all the 45 degree angles correct. I didn’t feel confident for a while doing injections. I think it comes with experience and time. What I would do is have the doctor look over your shoulder for a little while until your comfortable. I am sure you will pick this up in no time.

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I was certified while in school but I have to say, I have never felt 100 percent comfortable with it and, as a result, shy away from it, preferring to just use Cetacaine, which I can usually get by with or having the doc do a block for me. Now five years later, I’m wanting to take the refresher course because I don’t really remember the skills I learned.

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After practicing hygiene for 9 years in a state that does not allow hygienist to administer anesthesia, I have recently moved to a state where I needed to be certified. My course work was completely online and I had one 8 hour clinic day to actually learn and practice technique. I was so nervous about actually giving injections after so little hands-on time, but it has really been a lot easier than I thought it would be. You really do pick it up quickly. Good luck!

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I took the course almost 3 years ago in Pa, but love and practice in NJ. I did not need to take a board exam in Pa and after 2 attempts at the exam and failed, I just gave up. I am not sure that the course I took in Pa really prepared you for that exam as they knew you didn’t need it to get your license in Pa. I am not a test take, but honestly those questions were pretty basic. I could not get ANY of the questions requiring dosage correct, so not sure the formula I learned was correct. At this point I am discouraged and would have to take that entire course AGAIN in NJ. Not sure all that time, effort and money is worth it at 52 years old??? Kudos to those who do like it though. It would make my job easier at times if I did use it!

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I practiced 15 yrs prior to going back to school for certification for anesthetic. I did well, but my employer (who paid for it!) did not allow me or any other RDH to use our new skill. Fast forward to 12 yrs later and my new employer expected me to give anesthetic and was happy to help me get up to speed. Best thing I did was watch you tube videos!!!! I now am proficient but ever mindful of this great responsibility…I’m told I give a good injection. You will too and remember…practice makes perfect! Best of luck 🙂

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I got my certification while I was in hygiene school, however when I was in hygiene school I hardly ever administered anesthetic, so when I got my first job out of hygiene school I was terrified to give anesthetic as I felt I was not quite skilled enough to do so, however I reviewed my books and took a leap and began administering anesthetic. I found the best way to learn and get good at was to jump in feet first..practice makes perfect and honestly every patient you administer it to teaches you something different..it also helps to watch other providers and observe their so called tricks and tips.. I learned the most from the dentist I worked for as I’d watch him and he’d offer up tips along the way. I honestly think no one feels completely confident at first but you will get there. 🙂

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You will get it!!!! Hard to think that way now, just remember your landmarks and your technique and you can do it! All DDS’s I’ve worked with do it different and I’m sure I do it different than you. After 4 years of practice I still have problems with my MSA but always remember confidence is key and your patient is clueless if your doing it EXACTLY the right way. Something that helped me at the beginning was to visualize myself doing it when I was working on my patient. Good luck and always aspirate! 😉

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Keep practicing! Confidence comes with practice!

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I have been giving injections for 3 years and still get nervous. Don’t shy away from it though because that will only make you more uncomfortable with it. It takes practice just like any other skill. I had to teach myself to breathe because i didn’t realize i held my breath when I injected to steady my hand but wouldn’t let the breath out. Not advisable lol

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Hi there!

I took my boards about two years ago. It was really scary to perform an injection the first couple of times. It is even scarier to receive them! Either way, I found that being firmly confident about head and neck anatomy, both in the oral cavity and internally, goes a long way in helping you feel like your not taking a shot in the dark.

This link shows techniqies, but at 3mins has some really great visuals.

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Ive been giving injections for almost 8 years and still never feel “right” when I do. I think its more my compassion for the patient. I absolutely hate to receive injections so I think thats why I dont enjoy giving them. I am confident in my skills just dont like doing it. Im in a perio practice and give injections almost daily!

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I learned how to administer anesthesia in school, but I was definitely terrified at the thought of giving shots! However, many of my patients during the last semester needed SRP so I ended up getting a lot of practice with anesthesia and that’s what helped me the most. Ask one of your coworkers who you’re comfortable with if they wouldn’t mind helping you out. I think if I had only a few class opportunities to administer anesthesia I wouldn’t feel comfortable either, so just keep practicing!

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I have been a practicing hygienist for 20 years and last year I took the local anesthetic course and despised it. I knew I had to get over it but didnt know how. My boss said, just do it. I couldn’t and ended up quitting because my fear of giving an injection was too overwhelming. I secured a position as a volunteer dental hygienist at the Free Clinic and the DDS who supervised me made me feel so comfortable that I found myself giving injections and liking it. She was instrumental in helping me feel comfortable in administering local anesthesia by standing next to me and confirming that I had the right landmarks and angles. Compared with my DDS who said, just do it, I needed more help than that because quite frankly the six injections I gave during class did not prepare me for the real world, or so I thought. With the right support, we are fully capable of giving injections safely and confidently. Once the fear is gone it is very liberating to give injections and personally quite impressive:)

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I don’t know that anyone feels 100% at first, but hands on you keep getting better and betters when I was learning, I had a clinical DDS who was so cool and calm and she always reminded me, complications hardly ever occur and most not even that bad. It just helped me more relaxed, obviously still careful, but much more relaxed. Kids still get me a little nervous because they can be so unpredictable, but with time, I even feel pretty confident with them. I feel fortunate that I work in an office that the hyg dept and the docs utilize hygienists for anesthetic A LOT, so have gotten lots of practice!

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I got my certification while in school. I was lucky that my school did rotations at a Level 1 Trauma hospital with a dental clinic. There I got to work with the oral surgeons & dental students who where very helpful. I did probably over a 100 injections overall while on those rotations. I also did injections in hygiene clinic at school. Once we passed our comp exam we were allowed to do injections without the help of an instructor but I always asked someone to watch me. When I went to work (same office I was an assistant for) my employer told me not to do maxillary blocks, just to do infiltrations & it works fine. Of course I have to do IAs but I use a q-tip to find the notch. It’s something an instructor showed me. Works great! And with all of that, I still feel like I could use a hands on course to refresh sometimes. Dental students give injections for 3 years before they graduate, hygienist at my school give injections for about 6 months before graduation. I think it’s pretty normal for hygienists to have some anxiety about giving anesthesia. Good luck! 😀

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Took the certification 5 years ago after 33 years of practice..felt very unsure of myself afterward almost to the point of panic when I had to give anes, even tho I always got good anes and pts say I didn’t hurt them. I felt I needed more experience than I was getting at my office so volunteered some at the Free Clinic, telling them that I just wanted to do anes. They were happy to accommodate me and the Dr.s were very happy to give me tips and pointers. Felt much more confident after that experience. It still wigs me out a little, but at least I don’t have a panic attack.

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