Long-acting Local Anesthetic After Wisdom Teeth Removal

A new medication called Exparel produced by Pacira Pharmaceuticals provides an alternative to opioids for use as pain relief following wisdom teeth removal. Exparel is a long-acting local anesthetic that is delivered during the surgery that numbs the site of surgery for up to three days. Exparel is not an opioid and is not habit forming and therefore will not lead to any opioid addiction. Many patients are already familar with local pain analgesics such as lidocaine that are given as a dental injection to numb an area for several hours. Exparel is a long lasting analgesics which seems to share some similarities but lasts much longer. Recently the use of opioids after wisdom teeth removal has been more closely scrutinzed, see for example http://blog.teethremoval.com/opioid-prescriptions-from-dental-clinicians-for-young-adults-and-subsequent-opioid-use-and-abuse/ and http://blog.teethremoval.com/persistent-opioid-use-after-wisdom-teeth-removal. Many are concerned that patients having wisdom teeth surgery are exposed to opioids … Read more

Dental Anesthesia May Stop the Development of Wisdom Teeth

An interesting study appears in the April 2013, JADA which looks at whether dentists giving inferior alveolar nerve blocks to young children may be stopping wisdom teeth from later developing. The article is titled “Inferior alveolar nerve block and third-molar agenesis: A retrospective clinical study,” and by Jerry Swee and et al., JADA, April 2013, vol. 144, issue 4, pp. 389-395. In the study the researchers looked at children who had received inferior alveolar nerve block (a local anesthesia) between the years of 2 and 6 at the Tufts dental clinic and also had a dental x-ray taken 3 years or after of being initially treated. The researchers arrived at 439 potential wisdom tooth sites from 220 patient records for their analysis. The control group consisted of 376 potential wisdom tooth sites where it was clear that the child never … Read more