Sniffing local anaesthetic could replace needle at dentist’s

May 14th, 2010 - 4:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 14 (IANS) Sniffing a local anaesthetic is likely to replace the needle used by the dentist for many procedures.
Administered as nose drops or a nasal spray, it travels through the main nerve in the face and collects in high concentrations in the teeth, jaw and structures of the mouth.

The discovery could lead to a new generation of intra-nasal drugs for non-invasive treatment for dental pain, migraine and other conditions, scientists suggest.

William H. Frey II of Regions Hospital in St Paul, Minnesota, 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 nerve, which brings feelings to the face, nose and mouth. Until now, however, scientists never checked to see whether intra-nasal 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 at Regions Hospital, found that lidocaine or Xylocaine, sprayed into the noses of lab rats, quickly travelled 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, according to a release of the American Chemical Society.

These finding are scheduled for publication in the Society’s Molecular Pharmaceutics.

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