A study published in the journal ‘Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces’ states that scientists have found a new way to deliver anaesthesia by using a tiny electric current instead of a needle. The technique could improve dental procedures and prevent contamination and infection.
Dental patients often have to undergo invasive painful procedures in the mouth where anaesthetics are used. This leads to several patients cancelling or postponing their appointments with dentists. Renata Fonseca Vianna Lopez from the University of Sao Paulo said that the electric current procedure would be cost effective, would improve patient compliance and decrease the risk of intoxication and contamination. Researchers also found out that applying tiny electric current, a process called iontophoresis made the anaesthetics more effective.
To do this, the researchers prepared anaesthetic hydrogels with a polymer to help it stick to the lining of the mouth. Thereafter, they added two anaesthetic drugs– prilocaine hydrochloride and lidocaine. This gel was tested on the mouth lining of a pig with the help of a tiny electric current. The electric current made the anaesthetic fast, effective and long lasting. The current also made the prilocaine hydrochloride enter the body more effectively and the permeation of the anaesthetic through the mouth increased 12–fold.