Nasal Spray Offers New Hope for Needle Fears

There may be some relief in sight for patients who are afraid of needles during minor dental procedures. A nasal spray called Kovanaze was recently found to have oral anesthetic properties during use in nasal surgery. Mark Kollar, the co-founder of the drug’s manufacturer, St. Renatus noticed that following the use of the spray in a sinus procedure, his teeth went completely numb- prompting Kollar and St. Renatus to test Kovanaze for use in oral procedures.

Following the third round of clinical trials, the drug has been granted FDA approval for use in minor dental procedures affecting the canine, incisor, and upper bicuspid teeth. According to St. Renatus, Kovanaze will now undergo clinical trials in children and patients weighing under 88 pounds. St. Renatus also has plans for Kovanaze to eventually undergo trials for use in more advanced procedures, such as oral tissue biopsies and root canals. During the study, Kovanaze was also used in conjunction with topical, oral anesthetics when needed, and can still be used with such during routine procedures. Side effects were minor- some respondents reported nasal congestion and nasal drip.

The success of Kovanaze in eliminating the need for Novocain injections in some patients is promising news for children and adults who typically avoid trips to the dentist due to their fear of needles. Dentist Dr. Jack Bodie is optimistic that the debut of this inhaled anesthetic will encourage more patients to seek much needed dental care. “I’m hopeful that the introduction of an inhaled anesthesia could prompt more patients to seek treatment for dental pain.” Said Bodie, “The last thing we want is patients suffering unnecessarily and risking infection because they’re afraid of getting a Novocain injection.”

Kovonaze will be available in dental practices everywhere soon, and trials for use in children and for more complicated procedures in the works.