Effect of a Combination of Intranasal Ketorolac and Nitrous Oxide on the Success of the Inferior Alveolar Nerve Block in Patients with Symptomatic Irreversible Pulpitis: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-blind Study

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Previous studies in patients with irreversible pulpitis have reported increased success of the inferior alveolar nerve block (IANB) using premedication with ketorolac. Preemptive nitrous oxide administration has also shown an increase in the success of the IANB. Recently, ketorolac has been made available for intranasal delivery. Perhaps combining ketorolac and nitrous oxide would increase success. Therefore, the purpose of this prospective, randomized, double-blind study was to determine the effect of a combination of intranasal ketorolac and nitrous oxide/oxygen on the anesthetic success of the IANB in patients presenting with symptomatic irreversible pulpitis.


One hundred two patients experiencing spontaneous moderate to severe pain with symptomatic irreversible pulpitis in a mandibular posterior tooth participated. Patients were randomly divided into 2 groups and received either 31.5 mg intranasal ketorolac or intranasal saline placebo 20 minutes before the administration of nitrous oxide/oxygen. Ten minutes after the administration of nitrous oxide/oxygen, the IANB was given. After profound lip numbness, endodontic treatment was performed. Success was defined as the ability to perform endodontic access and instrumentation with no pain or mild pain.


The odds of success for the IANB was 1.631 in the intranasal saline/nitrous oxide group versus the intranasal ketorolac/nitrous oxide group with no significant difference between the groups (P = .2523).


Premedication with intranasal ketorolac did not significantly increase the odds of success for the IANB over the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen alone. Supplemental anesthesia will still be needed to achieve adequate anesthesia.

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