How to Avoid Needles at The Dentist

Dr. Parvin Carter

Spraying anesthesia into the nose instead of using a needle to inject it into the mouth could make the trip to the dentist’s office a little less painful and it could:

  •  Reduce anxiety in those patients who are fearful of needles.
  •  Reduce the risk of tissue damage caused when needles enter and exit tissue.
  • Reduce the “fat lip” sensation when anesthetics are injected.
  • Nasal Spary

A recent study done by University of Buffalo, published in the Journal of Dental Research looked at the effectiveness, safety, and tolerability of nasal anesthesia spray to produce numbness of upper teeth.

This research was first published on May 20, 2013, as “Safety and Efficacy of a Novel Nasal Spray for Maxillary Dental AnesthesiaJ DENT RES July 2013 92: S43-S48.

Scientists at the University hope that the spray could replace dental anesthesia using needles in the future, helping millions of patients suffering from dental phobia.

In a study of 45 healthy adults aged 18 and over who required restoration of one maxillary tooth, 30 individuals were selected to receive a nasal spray and 15 received a lidocaine injection. The researchers observed that the nasal spray was as effective as the standard anesthetic because 83 percent of the patients did not require any further anesthetic.

In 2012, a bioscience start-up company, St. Renatus, LLC ,reported  focusing on developing a nasal spray anesthetic for needle-free dentistry.St. Renatus, LLC  told investors its product is in final development, with a New Drug Application to the FDA expected this year.

In a letter to investors, the company said Adult Phase 3 trials should be completed in the first half of 2013. The letter also noted that a pediatric clinical trial was completed with no serious adverse events recorded.

The nasal dental anesthetic spray, called Kovacaine Mist, is a needle-free system that was developed by St. Renatus, a Colorado-based research company. It was designed to be administered through the nasal cavity for use in hard-tissue procedures, such as fillings and crown preparation. Unlike conventional injections, it is sprayed into the nasal cavity and anesthetizes only the upper teeth and not the patient’s lips and face, according to the company.


In dentistry experience and Continuing Education are everything. Dr. Parvin Carter has over 30 years of experience in Practicing General Dentistry and 25 years in Orthodontics. She has thousands of hours of advanced training. In 2000, Academy of General Dentistry awarded Dr. Carter a Certificate of Mastership (MAGD) in General Dentistry. According to the Journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, only 1% of US dentists achieve this high level of advancement. Dr. Carter is a Certified and Preferred Provider of Invisalign. She has successfully treated over 340 patients with Invisalign.

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