Q: Are there any new methods on the horizon that will eliminate the needle at the dental office? Is there technology for comfortable dental visits?
A: The army loves acronyms: AWOL, IED’s, MRE’s etc. Some acronyms, I am SOL in deciphering.
PDL has sixty definitions: Power Door Locks, Pregnancy Disability Leave, Preferred Drug List, Ponce de Leon (a NASA term), Population Doubling Level (Biology), Positioning Data Link (GPS), and in my biz: Periodontal Ligament.
Technology for Comfortable Dental Visits
Periodontal Ligaments are the little shock absorbers that connect the roots of all your teeth to the surrounding jawbone. Periodontal disease eats away the PDL, leading to bone loss, loosening teeth and tooth loss. This is why our hygienist, Vickie, uses a computerized measuring system and a probe that measures your pocket depths, indicating if you are loosing millimeters of your PDL. Five millimeter and greater numbers is a sign you have the silent killer of gum disease, periodontitis.
One method in getting a tooth numb has been to shoot a needle into the ligament by sticking a needle in the gap between the tooth and the gum, called the sulcus. This can be painful. Now, a new device has come out called the Numbee, which has replaced the needle with a soft, flexible cannula. This soft, spoon-shaped, silicone tube, forces the anesthetic down through the PDL to the apex of the root tips, numbing the nerves that enter the tooth.
The benefits are your whole face, lip and tongue will not get frozen, the anesthetic wont last as long, preventing your friends at lunch from asking you if you had a stoke, and of course, no pain from the needle! This will allow you to get out and enjoy your life and drive your SUV to the DMV, towing your ATV.
Dr. Mitchell Josephs practices Implant, Cosmetic and General Dentistry with an emphasis on implants, porcelain veneers, and complex crown and bridge treatment. He is on staff at JFK Medical Center and is a Faculty Advisory Board member at McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry. He completed his residency at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital.