Researchers at Ohio State University compared the effectiveness of the DentiPatch, a small adhesive patch that contains the numbing agent lidocaine, to a topical anesthetic gel. Patients using the patch reported feeling half as much pain from a needle stick, and some patients reported less discomfort during procedures that required the dentist to scrape underneath the gums.
The study reported that the traditional gel's anesthetic effects lasted about a minute, compared to 45 minutes for the DentiPatch.
"The fear of needles and needle-stick pain is a major deterrent to dental care for many people, not to mention other potentially uncomfortable procedures," said Michele Carr, a study co-author and an assistant professor of dental hygiene at Ohio State University.
The DentiPatch, produced by Noven Pharmaceuticals, was first available to dentists in 1996. About an inch long, the patch releases lidocaine when it's placed on the gums. The painkiller diffuses through the gums, eventually numbing a tooth's nerve.
The patch works best for patients who need a deeper than usual
cleaning, Carr said, since its effects last longer and the anesthetic
penetrates deeper than tha
Contact: Michele Carr
Ohio State University