Though the Precision Syringe was created as a solution to issues in pediatric ophthalmology, medical professionals from many specialties see potential uses for the dynamic invention.
When Greg Bennett, a dentist and associate professor at the UNMC College of Dentistry who focuses on adult restorative dentistry, saw the syringe, he immediately thought of its potential for use in endodontic irrigation.
Endodontic irrigation is the key component of a successful root canal treatment. The process consists of disinfecting and cleaning the inside of the infected tooth using an irrigation syringe which holds sodium hypochlorite. This kills and removes microbes, microorganisms, inflamed tissue, and debris from inside the tooth.
But putting sodium hypochlorite—a compound which is very similar to household bleach—so close to the mouth can be risky. Dentists have to learn to hold the syringe in a very precise manner.
“When you are doing this procedure, you must maintain a very gentle pressure,” Bennett said. “If you accidentally wedge the needle down into the tooth and force sodium hypochlorite into the cellular space, it causes really severe damage. It’s not terribly common, but it can happen, because you are putting a very small needle with a bend in it down inside of a hard tooth.”
The typical irrigation syringe can be awkward to hold, and it is difficult to control the amount of sodium hydrochloride being injected in the tooth while also keeping the instrument steady.
For Bennett, being able to have full control over the tool would be a huge benefit.
“When I met with Adrian Blake and he showed me the syringe, it’s use for irrigation was the first thing I thought of,” Bennett said. “You can hold it the same way that you would a drill or any other tool, but you have more control with that steady and slow advancement. I can see it making the entire process easier and much safer.”
With the prototype, Bennett demonstrated how the Precision Syringe would be used compared to a typical irrigation syringe.
In this image on the right, you can see just how precise you must be when using this type of syringe to do irrigation. The process requires your hands to be kept very steady. With the Precision Syringe, you are able to see the amount of control that Bennett has over the pressure and steadiness of the instrument.
“I hope the pictures demonstrate the improved dexterity of the syringe,” Bennett said. “The safety due to the control on plunger travel is a hard thing to demonstrate compared to a traditional syringe.”
Outside of Bennett’s scope of work, he does see potential for the precision syringe to be used in cosmetic dentistry and dental surgery—specifically dermal fillers and Botox.