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Vol. 75, No. 9
ISSN: 1488-2159
November 2009


Survey of Local Anesthetic Use by Ontario Dentists


• Andrew S. Gaffen, BSc, DDS •
• Daniel A. Haas, DDS, PhD, FRCD(C) •

A b s t r a c t

Objective: Local anesthetics are believed to be the most frequently used drugs in clinical dentistry, and although they are generally regarded as safe, some adverse reactions can be expected and do occur. The purpose of this study was to obtain, by means of a mail survey, information on the types and amounts of local anesthetics used by Ontario dentists during 2007.

Materials and Methods: A survey requesting data on the annual use of injectable local anesthetics was mailed to all 8,058 dentists licensed by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario in 2007.

Results: The effective response rate to the single mailing was 17.3% (1,395 respondents). By extrapolation, the estimated use of local anesthetics by all Ontario dentists during 2007 was determined to be about 13 million cartridges, which represents an average of 1,613 cartridges per dentist per year. Lidocaine with epinephrine 1:100,000 was the most commonly used formulation with 37.31% of total anesthetic use, followed by articaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine (27.04%) and articaine with 1:100,000 epinephrine (17.16%). Overall, local anesthetics combined with a vasoconstrictor accounted for more than 90% of total anesthetic use. A minority of survey respondents (15.68%) indicated that their pattern of anesthetic use had changed significantly in the past few years. Patterns of use were similar for early and late survey respondents. These data provide a current account of the use of local anesthetics by Ontario dentists.


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