Overcoming dental anxiety with needle-free tooth anaesthesia

Project Team Leader
A/Prof Andrew Taberner, UoA

Project Team
Dr Bryan Ruddy, UoA
Prof Paul Brunton, UoO
Dr David White, AUT

Project Summary
Nobody likes injections; dental anxiety (“fear of the dentist”) is a significant barrier to accessing regular dental care, and affects up to 30 % of the adult population. People who are anxious about dental treatment frequently delay or avoid seeking care, until such time that the required treatment is invasive, and expensive, and requires emergency tooth removal rather than repair. Yet dental anxiety is a very often an entirely avoidable conditioned response to adverse dental experiences as a child. The development of a painless and needle-free injection system for administering local anaesthesia would improve the dental experience for all patients, but especially for children, and translate into reduced demand for expensive and risky care provided under general anaesthesia.