The ability to control pain is a focus for all dental professionals. Local and regional anesthesia allows patients to get treatment for a myriad of dental issues, with the added benefit of reducing or even eliminating fear in many patients who would otherwise go without care. The choices for anesthesia can be very specific to the patient’s medical needs, and also provide alternatives for the duration of onset, length of postoperative numbness, or whether or not there is a need for a vasoconstrictor. Anesthesia breakthroughs have allowed for the anesthesia of a single tooth, only certain teeth, or an inferior alveolar nerve block for an entire lower quadrant of the mouth. According to the ADA Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists, dentists must comply with their state laws, rules and/or regulations when providing sedation and anesthesia and are subject to Section III Educational Requirements of the Guidelines as required by those state laws, rules and/or regulations. Anesthesia is so important because dental procedures that take place while the patient is awake can be stressful, so any type of anesthesia that can reduce pain, with the least discomfort after the procedure is appreciated by the patients.
Fear of pain often translates into avoiding the dentist. According to Colgate, an estimated 9% to 15% of Americans, which is 30 million to 40 million people, avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety and fear. In a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation, 36% of those who didn’t see a dentist regularly cited fear as the main reason.
One breakthrough in anesthesia is The Wand® computer assisted anesthesia system. The patented technology allows for virtually painless single tooth anesthesia with no collateral numbness. The unit monitors exit pressure to ensure that the optimal needle pressure is maintained, and a visual and audible feedback allows for accurate identification of the PDL intraligamentary tissue.
New ways such as this to administer anesthesia can create better feedback and loyalty from patients and can differentiate a practice because of its innovation.