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Cool Tool – Getting Nosy

A spritzy, needle-free anesthetic alternative will bring peace and comfort (and maybe some sneezes) to your practice.

PERHAPS NOT EVERY dental patient faints at the sight of a needle. But surely even the toughest chair denizens, if given an alternative to the sharp prick of a Novocain injection in the gums, would decide to take it.

That, in the form of a gentle mist up the old schnoz, is exactly what Kovanaze promises. “Why inject when you can spray?” its creators, St. Renatus, ask — and then provide their own FDA-approved answer.

In June 2016, St. Renatus — named after the patron saint of anesthesia, naturally — received a nod of assent from the Food & Drug Administration for its stellar combo of the local anesthetic tetracaine and nasal decongestant oxymetazoline with a nontraditional delivery system.

The super spritz’s origin story goes like this: Kovanaze’s co-developer, a dentist named Mark Kollar, once took one on the chin — a basketball injury that required an astonishing 21 stitches. Treatment with an ear-nose-and-throat specialist introduced him to a nasal spray containing tetracaine. A serendipitous side effect, numb teeth, served as Dr. Kollar’s light-bulb moment.

Eight years and a number of clinical trials later, dentists and their patients can now benefit from a needle-free alternative to anesthetize teeth Nos. 4 through 13 and A through J for restorative dental procedures, with Kovanaze numbing the anterior superior alveolar and media superior alveolar nerve bundles. (Say that five times fast after a few squirts of the stuff.)

The nose has it, and the “no’s” have it: no fat-lip feeling, no needle anxiety, no needle-handling hassles in the office, no blood-borne contamination. Limited adverse effects include nothing more serious than sneezing and a variably itchy snoot. All of it adds up to one fewer reason for nervous Nellies to fear the dentist. And that, unlike the Kovanaze itself, is nothing to sneeze at.

St. Renatus: 800-770-9400; st-renatus.com