BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - For many of us, the dentist's office can be a scary place. But someday soon the experience will be a little less painful thanks to a nasal spray that was studied in Buffalo.
Carol Sabuda participated in a clinical trial of a nasal spray for dental anesthesia. She'd had dental work with standard injections before.
"It does hurt when they give you the needle and then you're swollen and you feel like you can't eat or anything until the numbness goes away," Sabuda said.
What if you could do without the needle?
Dr. Sebastian Ciancio of UB's dental school has been studying a nasal spray as an alternative for five years. The spray enters the nose and is carried into the nasal sinuses, which are very close to branches of the maxillary nerve, which carries pain fibers from the teeth. The anesthetic is distributed along all the nerve branches.
"Not only are your teeth numb, but actually the entire roof of your mouth is numb. You can have surgery done, you can have dental fillings placed, and not ever have to have a needle. And I think that's the beauty of the product," Dr. Ciancio said.
But in order to have it approved, they have to prove it works. The studies are complete, and it does!
Dr. Ciancio said, "Every nine out of 10 patients, you could actually place fillings with this material no problem, which is as good as dental injection."
It will still take about a year for FDA approval and widespread availability. The nasal spray also has fewer side effects than injections.
"The nice part about it is your mouth is numb, but your cheek and lips are fine; there's no numbness," Dr. Ciancio said.
Sabuda said, "And they just do the procedure and you don't have anything afterwards - it was normal. That night we went out to dinner and I didn't even know I had any dental work done."
This all began when a dentist broke his nose. The surgeon who fixed it used a nasal spray for anesthesia and the dentist noticed that it also numbed his teeth, so he decided to look into it as a dental anesthetic.
You might say that was a "lucky break" for him - and us!
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