Anesthesia & Pain Management Insider: Why dentists should look for numb chin syndrome

Dear Anesthesia & Pain Management Insider,

A patient may visit with symptoms at first appearing innocent in nature, like numbness, paresthesia, and pain. But when these symptoms affect the area near the mental nerve, they could indicate cancer. Read more about numb chin syndrome in this edition's Insider Exclusive.

Also new in the Anesthesia & Pain Management Community, computer-controlled anesthesia could cut the ouch for children undergoing dental procedures. Children injected with computer-controlled intraligamentary anesthesia prior to molar extractions felt less pain than those given typical alveolar nerve blocks.

Symptoms of orofacial pain are on the rise in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Orofacial pain specialists are reporting an increase in the number of patients seeking treatment for new orofacial pain complaints and related symptoms, including anxiety, headache, bruxism, pain while chewing, and sleep disturbances.

Could a drug designed to prevent alcohol and drug use relapse help with oral pain? In one case report, daily naltrexone use led to a significant decrease in pain for a 62-year-old woman with stubborn burning mouth syndrome. Low-dose naltrexone may offer a new way to treat the condition if it has no identifiable cause, according to the case authors.

Hygienists in New York now can administer local infiltration anesthesia and nitrous oxide to patients while assisting dentists with all dental procedures. A bill signed by the governor in May removes the restriction of hygienists administering the agents only during dental hygiene procedures. Hygienists still must obtain a certificate and administer the substances under a dentist's supervision.

Finally, the American Board of Orofacial Pain (ABOP) has been officially recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards as the national certifying board for orofacial pain. ABOP will administer an exam that certifies qualified dentists as diplomates in orofacial pain.

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