Implantology is the dental discipline that has, perhaps, suffered the most from digitisation procedures. Today, the clinician has at his disposal valid technologies to simplify and reduce the time and, at the same time, to maintain and, possibly, to raise the quality standards of precision, laboratory manufacture and reproducibility. Patients, too, legitimately require to be treated according to the most technologically advanced protocols. In this sense, anaesthesia, which is apparently a crucial step in the success of a surgical operation, is no exception.
An Italo-British study group (Fats and colleagues) considered the implantology potential of one of the main computerised systems for administering local dental anaesthesia, the Single Tooth Anesthesia (STA) method.
The authors report interest in the procedure highlighted by several previous studies; first, the reduced traumatic impact of anaesthesia, which promotes patient compliance. Besides, some studies show anaesthetic effectiveness comparable to that of conventional methods – also given the speed of onset – with the administration of smaller amounts of drug solution. The study was, therefore, prepared to confirm these indications in the specialized field of implant surgery.
The investigation follows the model of the prospective cohort trial and has included patients for whom implant rehabilitation was planned and who had already reported a previous experience of this type in the last 3 years but have never experienced the anaesthetic method, STA, before. In total, the investigators recruited 45 patients, including 22 males and 23 females, aged between 32 and 70 years (55 on average). Interestingly, 60% of the cases were treated with a post-extractive technique, while the remaining 40% of the implants were inserted after recovery. Almost all of the procedures involved one sextant, except for three that involved two adjacent sextants of the same arch.
All patients received a first questionnaire regarding the pain experience related to the previous surgery and expectations for the next one, after which a second questionnaire was administered.
The average level of pain with the STA method (1.6, SD 0.7) shows a highly significant reduction compared to the classical technique (7.9, SD 1.2). The comfort perceived during the STA procedure averaged 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10 without ever falling below 7.
The amount of anaesthetic needed also indicates a marked decrease, with a reduction in the symptom of numbness in adjacent tissues and faster postoperative recovery.