Sniffing Anesthetic May Replace Injection

ST. PAUL, Minn., May 15 (UPI) — A sniff may replace an injection when getting a local anesthetic in the dentist’s chair, U.S. researchers say.

William H. Frey II, Leah Hanson and Neil Johnson at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., found anesthetic administered to the nose — as nasal drops or spray — travels through the nerve in the face and collects in the structures of the jaw, including the teeth.


The study, published in the American Chemical Society’s Molecular Pharmaceutics, suggests intra-nasal drug administration may change dentistry and be expanded for use with other conditions such as migraine.

Johnson found the anesthetic lidocaine or Xylocaine, sprayed into the noses of laboratory rats, quickly traveled down the trigeminal nerve and collected in their teeth, jaws and mouths at levels 20 times higher than in the blood or brain.

The scientists also discovered an improved future location to administer anesthetic — the maxillary sinus. The golf ball-sized space located underneath each cheek may provide the next generation approach to providing rapid and focused drug delivery, the researchers said.

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