Will There Be No More Needles at the Dentist Soon?

A new study reveals how a dentist could give you an anesthetic using a tiny electric current instead of a needle.  The study was published in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces and reveals how a dentist could give you anesthetic using a tiny electric current instead of a needle. The researchers from the study are from the University of São Paulo and believe their findings could help improve dental procedures and bring relief to millions of people who are scared of needles.

Dentists commonly currently use anesthetics that block pain administered using needles. Many patients are afraid of these injections, and this can result in them postponing and canceling visits to the dentist. For patients who do not like needles, dentists can give them a topical painkiller to reduce their pain and fear. This can come in the form of a hydrogel which can contain lidocaine and prilocaine.

In the study, the researchers explored a way of getting topical anesthetics into the body more effectively. They found that applying a tiny electric current known as iontophoresis, made the anesthetics more effective. The researchers first prepared the anesthetic hydrogels with a polymer to aid in it sticking to the lining of the mouth. They added two anesthetic drugs, prilocaine hydrochloride (PCL) and lidocaine hydrochloride (LCL).

The anesthesia was found to be fast and long lasting. The electric current made the prilocaine hydrochloride enter the body more effectively and the permeation of the anesthetic through the mouth lining increased by a factor of twelve.

The researchers intend to develop an iontophoretic device to use in the mouth and hope to conduct preclinical trials with the system.

Source: Camila Cubayachi, Renê Oliveira do Couto, Cristiane Masetto de Gaitani, Vinícius Pedrazzi, Osvaldo de Freitas, Renata Fonseca Vianna Lopez. Needle-free buccal anesthesia using iontophoresis and amino amide salts combined in a mucoadhesive formulation. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2015; vol. 136, pp. 1193-201.

1 thought on “Will There Be No More Needles at the Dentist Soon?”

  1. If they were able to apply sedatives or painkillers without needles that’d be huge. I had two good friends in high school, both of whom were deathly afraid of needles. I’m sure that’s really affected them when going to the doctors office, especially the dentist. It be a major change for them if they didn’t have to worry about that anymore. It’d be exciting to see how this technology can be applied to other areas of medicine as well.

    Super exciting to see technology changing before our eyes.

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