Dental Tribune Europe

New dental injection system could ease patients’ pain

By Dental Tribune
August 10, 2011

NEWCASTLE, UK: Researchers from Newcastle University have developed a dental injection system that could reduce patients’ pain when being injected. The system, a modification of a dental local anaesthetic cartridge that allows a buffer solution to be mixed with the anaesthetic, was recently recognised with a Medical Futures Innovation Award, a European showcase of early-stage innovation in health care.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to receive a Medical Futures Award and hope it will lead to our invention being developed further to benefit patients,” Dr John Meechan, Senior Lecturer in the School of Dental Sciences at Newcastle University, said.

One reason dental injections are painful is the acidic content of the anaesthetic, which is necessary to enable it to be made and stored. The new system allows a separate neutralising material to be mixed with the anaesthetic just before the injection. In this way, discomfort can be reduced and the time for the anaesthetic to take effect can be shortened.

The research team has developed a patent-protected, new double plunger for a syringe cartridge that separates the two substances within the syringe until use.

Millions of dental injections are given by dentists every year. The researchers would like to see their innovation become the standard method used in every dental surgery.

Also, with more than 16 billion injections administered annually around the world, the scope for this innovation in areas outside of dentistry is significant. “As with many of the best ideas, the simplicity of this innovation is what caught our attention,” judges of the Medical Futures Innovation Awards said. “This forms a platform innovation that could have many potential uses outside of the dental market and we would like to see this being taken into clinical trials.”

The team has produced a pre-production prototype of the injection system and is now looking for a manufacturer to produce it commercially and make it available to dentists.

“We think our idea has great potential to improve the comfort of dental injections, which will benefit all patients who need anaesthetics at the dentist,” Meechan stated.

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