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October 2015
Volume 36, Issue 10

Needle-free Anesthetic Offers Pain Control During Periodontal Treatment

With several years as a tenured dental hygiene educator, followed by 11 years as a corporate dental hygienist, Doreen Johnson, RDH, MA Ed, brings a wealth of knowledge to her position as Clinical Educator for DENTSPLY Professional, covering the Midwest Region of the United States.

Describing current trends in dental disease prevention from the perspective of the dental hygienist she is by training, Johnson says much has changed in recent years. “It was a good day for dentistry when the head and neck were recognized as being connected to rest of the body, compared to years ago when they were evaluated in a very different light,” she observes. She says part of connecting the mouth to the rest of the body means understanding the perio-systemic link—that inflammatory conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as unhealthy behaviors such as poor nutrition and smoking, contribute to dental disease. “Dental hygienists, as well as other dental team members, must be aware of factors now known to contribute to dental disease and be able to identify them when looking for causes of periodontal disease and dental caries in specific patients,” she maintains. Johnson says that seeing the body as a complete system facilitates a comprehensive approach to prevention, allowing the clinician to identify contributing factors and early disease indicators, and provide the patient with solid treatment options.” Therefore, she says, there are more assessments for those factors, as well as those that are more traditionally dental, such as for caries, periodontal disease, and hypersensitivity, etc. They include methodical forms such as Caries Management by Risk Assessment (CAMBRA), which aims to identify the cause of disease by eliciting, evaluating, and managing individual patient risk factors through behavioral counseling and treatments.

Noting the role of new technology, agents, and treatments, she says, “Advances in technology that have impacted this aspect of dental practice in many ways include new radiology technology, cone beam, radiology sensor holders, and aiming devices, caries detection devices, and newer treatment options including ultrasonic tips, caries varnishes, polishing agents, whitening agents, and local anesthetic formulations.”

Among the advances that facilitate hygiene treatment, she says, is the DENTSPLY Professional product Oraqix®, a needle-free topical anesthetic product used during scaling and root planing (SRP) for early periodontal disease. “This product is unique in the dental market, as it is the only FDA-approved topically applied anesthetic for the use during SRP procedures. Because of its amide formulation and its eutectic nature, it can aid the clinician with pain management for the patient with early gingivitis and periodontal disease,” Johnson explains. According to the product literature, Oraqix combines lidocaine (2.5%) and prilocaine (2.5%) with a unique thermosetting system to deliver pain relief where it’s needed. Combining both of these amides into a single treatment provides dual benefits that are important for creating an appropriate anesthetizing effect—fast onset and a duration that should be long enough to work for the entire treatment. And because it it is site-specific, multiple areas of the mouth can be treated in one visit, enabling full-mouth procedures.

Johnson says that DENTSPLY is committed to clinician education and has many supportive educational training opportunities, including a team of Clinical Educators, such as herself, who cover the United States and the international market to assist clinicians in implementing effective and efficient evidence-based treatment protocols—including proper use of its products—in their clinical practices. “The CE Team provides many programs to educate the clinician.  We also have a website with instructional videos to walk the clinician through these procedures utilizing our vast portfolio of dental products,” she says.

Looking to the future in terms of dental disease prevention, Johnson sees a greater emphasis on the relationship between oral and overall health. “The true wave of the future in dental disease prevention,” she concludes, “lies in educating the clinician on the patient’s systemic links along with supportive assessment protocols.”

Important Risk Information

Oraqix is not for injection. Oraqix is contraindicated in patients who are hypersensitive to local anesthetics. Oraqix should not be used in patients with congenital or idiopathic methemoglobinemia.

Please refer to brief summary of prescribing information on adjacent page before using Oraqix.

DENTSPLY Professional
1301 Smile Way
York, PA 17404-0807

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