Coming Soon: Get a Sniff of Novacaine, Rather than a Shot | Alhambra Dentist

Since its introduction in 1844 by dentist Dr. Horace Wells, the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to the medical world as a means for inducing conscious sedation for surgery, dentists have been in the forefront in discovering, testing and applying new techniques and materials for obtaining anesthesia for their patients. In 1884, Carl Eihorn introduced cocaine for use as an anesthetic. This was widely used until the addictive quality of cocaine became evident. The first successful cocaine substitute, called Stovaine, was invented by Ernest Fourneau in 1904. Stovaine was delivered by needle. But it was commonly known as “novacaine,” because this was the “new” cocaine. Novacaine became popular as a local anesthetic both in dentistry and medicine. Various kinds of improvements have been made in the effectiveness and duration of local anesthetics since that time, but the only means of achieving deep local anesthesia (numbness) for extensive dental treatment was still by injection.

Now a new discovery may replace the needle for many dental procedures. Scientists are reporting evidence that a common local anesthetic, when administered to the nose as nose drops or a nasal spray, travels through the main nerve in the face and collects in high concentrations in the teeth, jaw, and structures of the mouth.

This discovery could lead to a new generation of intra-nasal drugs for noninvasive treatment for dental pain, migraine, and other conditions, the scientists suggest in the current issue of the American Chemical Society’s bi-monthly journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

William H. Frey II, Ph.D., and colleagues note that drugs administered to the nose travel along nerves and go directly to the brain. One of those nerves is the trigeminal (V) nerve, which brings feelings to the face, nose and mouth. Until now, however, scientists never checked to see whether intranasal drugs passing along that nerve might reach the teeth, gums and other areas of the face and mouth to reduce pain sensations in the face and mouth.

Neil Johnson, working in the labs of Frey and Leah R. Hanson, Ph.D., at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., found that Lidocaine or Xylocaine, sprayed into the noses of laboratory rats, quickly traveled down the trigeminal nerve and collected in their teeth, jaws, and mouths at levels 20 times higher than in the blood or brain. The approach could provide a more effective and targeted method for treating dental pain/anxiety, trigeminal neuralgia (severe facial pain), migraine, and other conditions, the scientists say.

Furthermore, these scientists discovered an improved future location to administer anesthetic, the maxillary sinus. The maxillary sinus is a golf ball-sized space located underneath each cheek where the drug can be sprayed. Delivery into this confined space may be the next generation approach beyond a nasal spray in providing a more rapid and focused delivery of anesthetic.

For dental phobics and those avoiding dental treatment because of high anxieties, there is no need to wait for intra-nasal anesthetics. Advances in devices and techniques used for injection have proven to be predictably successful in anesthetizing teeth without pain. Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC has been successfully using a special technique for alleviating pain and fear of dentistry in treating thousands upon thousands of patients since the 1970’s. It is called “iatrosedation”. For further information regarding “iatrosedation” click on to iatrosedation, AlhambraDental.com.

If you would like more information about anesthetic treatment options, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

2019-08-16T18:38:31+00:00June 6th, 2019|General Dentistry, Sleep Dentistry|

Snoring Treatable by Dental Device | Alhambra Dentist

A physician, Dr. Smith (not his real name), mentioned at his dental visit that he snores heavily and that recently his condition has been diagnosed as obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Smith said that he had read that a certain kind of dental device can treat this condition and wanted to know whether he is a suitable candidate.

Sleep apnea occurs where there are episodes of cessation of breathing lasting 10 seconds or longer during sleep. The failure to breath triggers the brain to awaken briefly in order to reinitiate the breathing process. These arousals are so brief that they generally go unremembered. But the results of these frequent interruptions are daytime sleepiness, which may lead to disruption of work and social life. Difficulties with concentration, memory are some of the other symptoms. Severe sleep apnea may lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attack and stroke.

Sleep apnea is estimated to affect about of 10% men between the ages of 30 to 50, but also has been found in both sexes of all ages. The most frequent form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, in which the cessation of breathing is most often caused by excessive relaxation of the muscles at the back of the throat.

Dr. Smith was aware that medical remedies include the use of continuous positive airway pressure (C- PAP) which involves the use of wearing a mask over the nose and mouth. Air from a compressor forces air through the mask to keep the airway open. Surgical procedures involve the excising of excess tissue at the back of the throat, such as enlarged tonsils and adenoids. However, Dr. Smith cannot sleep with the C- PAP mask and does not want surgery. He was interested in the mandibular advancement appliance that has been used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

This dental device consists of two retainer-like plastic covers. One fits over the upper teeth and the other over the lower teeth. These two retainers are joined together by “connectors” which maintain the lower jaw slightly more forward than normal. By advancing the lower jaw (mandible) forward, the diameter of the throat is increased. More importantly, even if the muscles at the back of throat relax, the throat is prevented from collapsing. This forward placement of the mandible can prevent the blocking of breathing found in obstructive sleep apnea.

A mandibular advancement device was made for Dr. Smith. A subsequent polysomnograph (sleep study) confirmed that while Dr. Smith was wearing the oral device, he had no apnea episodes. His “oxygen saturation rate” was back to normal and he felt great. The snoring has greatly diminished to where it is almost unnoticeable to his wife. He has continued to wear this kind of appliances for the past four years.

If you or your spouse suffers from the snoring of the other, there is hope. Visit your dentist. If you also notice that he/she has apnea episodes where breathing stops for 10 seconds or more, please see your physician to rule out sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, be sure you follow your doctors’ instructions as to how to deal with this condition. Ask your physician if a mandibular advancement device could be a consideration.

If you would like more information about obstructive sleep apnea, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

2019-08-16T23:38:04+00:00February 28th, 2019|Sleep Dentistry|