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Drug Hopes to Relieve Common Dental Fear

Sep 16, 2013

In the US, some 75 percent of adults reported experiencing some degree of dental fear.  Last year, we wrote about the top five reasons people hate to visit the dentist.  However, a very promising discovery in dental anesthetics hopes to help those frightened become more regular visitors to the dentist.

Photo source: dentalanesthesia-news

A new drug is being developed by St. Renatus in Colorado which is called Kovacaine Mist.  This is an experimental nasal spray that can provide maxillary dental anesthesia equivalent to a lidocaine injection.  So instead of dreading a big needle going into your mouth, you just have to sniff up a little friendly mist!  Sounds 100% better, doesn't it?  The drug is likely to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and be released for use in 2014.

A research team led by Dr. Sebastian Ciancio, DDS and chair of periodontics and endodontics at the University of Buffalo, studied 45 adults requiring fillings in at least one upper tooth.  Dentists have several concerns about administering shots to patients that are more advanced than just the patient’s fear of needles.  “Injection carries several disadvantages. The most obvious is the patient’s fear of pain. But injections also carry the possibility of exposure to blood-borne pathogens via needle stick; the risk that the anesthesia may not be effective; and injury or tenderness after the procedure,” says Ciancio.

In the study, 15 patients were given saline nasal placebos with lidocaine injections and 30 were given the active anesthetic nasal spray.  Each set of patients were monitored for pain and tenderness through the dental work process.  For the people given the nasal spray, a “rescue” anesthesia was used for patients experiencing pain.  Twenty-five of the 30 nasal spray recipients (83.3%) required no rescue anesthesia.  According to FDA standards, this percentage is high enough to pass as an anesthetic to perform restorative dental procedures.

 Four different tooth sites were probed during the experiments on each participant to test the effectiveness of the nasal spray on the patient.  After-effects of the nasal spray administration included nasal stuffiness, runny nose, sneezing and slight numbness in the roof of the mouth.  None of the patients had severe reactions to the drug or complained of an altered sense of smell. 

The research team is in the midst of stage 3 testing on adults and is ramping up for a study with children.  One disadvantage to the Mist is that it only works for maxillary procedures.  This may affect patients who have dental issues in the bottom teeth. 

We hope that people don’t wait for this new drug to come on the market to visit their dentist!  The more often you see your dental provider, the less work you probably will have to have performed.  Save your teeth, your cash and your time by shopping for a dental plan at Dental Insurance Store.  We promise there are no needles involved!

Sources: Medscape, University of Buffalo press release

Copyright 2013, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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