Two steps to reducing the pain of anaesthetic injections

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anaesthetic injectionsAnesthesia Progress has just published a new study uncovering a technique for reducing the pain felt during anaesthetic injections for children. Researchers have been hunting for an anaesthetic administration technique that could reduce the all-too common fears children feel towards dental visits.

The study’s authors focused on a “two-stage injection technique designed to cause less pain”. They hoped to reduce the discomfort in children associated with local anaesthesia administered for dental work.

“Dental disease is one of the most common chronic health problems among children, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. It accounts for many lost days at school, chronic mouth pain, and difficulty eating,” writes the the American Dental

Society of Anesthesiology. “However, putting a child in pain in a dentist’s chair and then approaching that child with a needle of anaesthetic can lead to tears and tantrums. For these reasons, the authors of the current study felt that, when it comes to pain control, children should be the target group.”

Using a sample size of 100 children—aged seven to 13—researchers administered anaesthesia to each child using either the conventional or two-stage method for their first appointment. At their second appointment—one week later—the children were given the opposite method to the previous week’s injection. The study’s authors used two rating scales to evaluate the pain felt by the studied children for each method.

The study established that the two-stage method significantly decreased the childrens’ pain levels.

“By placing a gel anaesthetic in the gum area, depositing a small amount of injectable anaesthetic, and then waiting 5 minutes, the full injection was far less painful. This two-stage technique resulted in significantly lower pain levels, both reported by the children and observed by the researchers, compared to the pain felt when the conventional technique was used.”

“The authors concluded that the two-stage injection ‘is a simple and effective means of reducing injection pain in children.’ This technique may improve children’s experience at the dentist and remove one of the barriers to effective dental care.”

 

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