Anesthetic Efficacy of Supine and Upright Positions for the Inferior Alveolar Nerve Block: A Prospective, Randomized Study

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Introduction:It has been recommended to place patients in an upright position after administration of an inferior alveolar nerve block (IANB), theoretically allowing the anesthetic to diffuse in an inferior direction and resulting in better pulpal anesthesia. The purpose of this study was to compare an upright versus a supine position on the success of pulpal anesthesia when an IANB was administered in asymptomatic teeth.Methods:One hundred ten asymptomatic subjects were randomly given IANBs by using 2% lidocaine with 1:100,000 epinephrine while they were in an upright position and supine position at 2 different appointments spaced at least 2 weeks apart. Pulpal anesthesia was measured in the molars, premolars, and incisors with an electric pulp tester in 4-minute cycles for 60 minutes. Anesthetic success was defined as the subject achieving 2 consecutive 80 readings within 15 minutes of the injection and sustaining the 80 reading for 60 minutes. Success was analyzed by using a mixed model logistic regression.Results:Pulpal anesthesia for the supine position was not statistically more successful than the upright position in the second molars (73% vs 65%), first molars (59% vs 54%), lateral incisors (28% vs 23%), and central incisors (11% vs 8%), respectively. The supine position significantly improved success in the second premolars (63% vs 53%) and first premolars (75% vs 64%).Conclusions:The supine and upright positions were equally successful in the molars and anterior teeth. The supine position was more successful in the premolars. However, clinically, neither position for the IANB administration would provide complete pulpal anesthesia.

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