Scared of Needles?
According to the American Dental Association, some 10 million people avoid the dentist due to a fear of needles -- and understandably so! Dental needles can cause a pinching sensation, which makes for an uncomfortable moment in the dental chair. While topical gels are now available to briefly minimize the pain felt during dental injections, their effectiveness is limited for patients who require several shots or wish for longer-lasting results.
Noven Pharmaceuticals has come up with a solution for patients who don't benefit from a topical gel. The DentiPatch® numbs your gums more thoroughly -- for a longer amount of time! The DentiPatch is a small adhesive strip that securely attaches to your gums to prevent or minimize the needle pain often associated with local dental anesthetic injections. Approved by the FDA in 1996, the DentiPatch has been helping fearful dental patients get the work they need for over 10 years!
Numb or Numb-er?
The DentiPatch's effective ingredient is lidocaine, which is slowly diffused through the soft tissues of your gums to block your underlying nerves from pain. You may have heard of lidocaine before -- in fact, it's now a common local dental anesthetic, having replaced novocaine as the primary numbing agent found in dental anesthesia in recent years.
The DentiPatch is a vast improvement in pain-free dentistry -- the DentiPatch penetrates deeper and lasts longer than topical numbing gels. While these gels are still successfully used today, there are several reasons you may choose a DentiPatch over traditional topical numbing agents:
- Topical gels only penetrate the first layer of tissue; the patch allows the lidocaine to diffuse deeper into several layers of the gums.
- It only takes about two minutes for the anesthetic to start taking effect.
- According to one study, the effects of a topical gel only last about one minute, whereas you may feel the effects of the DentiPatch for up to 45 minutes.
The DentiPatch is also used to reduce discomfort during gum disease treatment, such as scaling and root planning and some even ask for the DentiPatch for regular checkups and dental cleanings. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, the DentiPatch may improve your level of comfort during your regular dental visits.
A Sensitive Side
So with all the talk about the DentiPatch, why hasn't your dentist recommended it? There are several reasons some dentists continue to use the standard numbing gel. For a typical dental procedure that only requires one or two injections of dental anesthesia, you may not need anything other than a topical gel. And as the DentiPatch is more expensive than topical gels, your dentist could be saving you money.
The DentiPatch is also more effective in some areas of the jaw than others -- for example, your top jaw is designed to better allow a topical anesthetic to reach the nerves, making it easier to numb than the bottom jaw. The patch also works better where the jawbone is thinner and more porous because it's easier to penetrate. Depending on where the patch is located and how you respond to dental treatment, it could take up to 15 minutes for the anesthetic to fully take effect, whereas a gel only takes 30 seconds.
Patch It Up
If you do choose the DentiPatch, there are some factors to take into consideration: Your mouth needs to be dry in order for it to attach. You should also remain still and relaxed -- too much movement can cause the patch to peel off. And keep in mind that no matter what numbing agent you use, you will still need an injection of local anesthetic during your procedure. If that doesn't work for you, a stronger solution may be needed. If you suffer from dental anxiety, speak with your dentist about all of your sedation dentistry options.
With the DentiPatch, you can numb your worries before you even see a needle. Next time you're at your dental office, ask your dentist about this advanced dental anesthetic technique -- and keep yourself from feeling like you're on pins and needles over the idea of dental care!