Dental Tribune International

New medical device may help reduce opioid use and prescription

By Iveta Ramonaite, Dental Tribune International
June 25, 2019

CLOSTER, N.J., U.S.: Many dental professionals have recognized the benefits of using cryotherapy for oral pain management and swelling relief in dentistry, and most dentists use external ice packs to reduce postoperative pain after oral surgeries, tooth extraction, dental implant procedures and maxillofacial surgeries. Now, a new cryotherapy product that is applied intraorally has entered the market. According to the manufacturers, this medical device, which is registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), provides effective and opioid-free relief from pain, swelling and discomfort to dental patients by cooling the mouth from the inside for an extended period.

Besides these, further benefits of cold therapy include the slowing down of nerve conduction and of induced tissue damage. Until recently, the only means of cold application was by the placing of ice packs on the patient’s face. The Denta-Cool mouthpiece, which was released in April, is designed to contour to the oral cavity, cooling the mouth but protecting the teeth and gingiva from direct contact with ice. It fits most adults and is suitable for patients with sensitive teeth. The device is made from FDA-approved medical-grade silicone and contains filtered water and a saline formula.

Often, dentists prescribe opioids for intense pain, rather than alternative analgesics or medical devices. According to various studies, however, although opioid use is generally considered safe, patients who use medications of this drug class for an extended period and at a higher dose than originally prescribed may develop opioid addiction, overdose or even die. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported that drug overdose deaths in the U.S. involving opioids increased sixfold between 1999 and 2017, from 8,048 to 47,600. The number of deaths involving prescription opioids rose from 3,442 to 17,029 in the same period.

According to Dr. Michael L. Oshinsky, a program director of Pain and Migraine at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, scientists have not yet been able to develop opioids that are as effective in reducing pain without producing addictive effects. However, the National Institutes of Health is currently funding research into new and more precise ways to treat pain and to develop novel treatments to combat opioid misuse and addiction. In the meantime, the Denta-Cool intraoral cryotherapy device might be an effective opioid-free solution for reducing pain after dental procedures.

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