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An old friend in topical anesthesia is back!

Dec. 1, 2020
The return of a topical anesthetic is cause for celebration. Amanda Hill, BSDH, RDH, explains why.

Have you ever had a product that you just love, and then one day it’s gone? It leaves you searching for alternatives while still longing for the old one. I’ve had that happen with lipstick colors, jeans (once they added spandex, they never fit the same), and certainly with dental products in the operatory. Imagine the elation if that product simply returned one day! How happy would you feel if the good “old thing” you remembered, longed for, and tried to replace but never could, came back?

That’s how Kathy Bassett, MEd, RDH, felt this past February when Septodont released a 0.5% dyclonine hydrochloride topical anesthetic, DycloPro. It was like welcoming back a trusted friend. I remember this product from my dental hygiene school kit back in the 1990s, and I completely understand the joy Bassett feels.

If you don’t know Kathy Bassett, allow me to introduce her. She is a professor of dental hygiene at Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington, and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington, School of Dentistry, in Seattle. She is a coauthor of Local Anesthesia for Dental Professionals and has written numerous articles and textbook chapters on local anesthesia. Clearly, Bassett is an expert in local anesthesia, so it’s no surprise that a topical anesthetic would make her so happy. 

I had the opportunity to talk with her about dental hygiene and learn just what it was about DylcoPro’s return that had her singing its praises. When we talked, I could tell immediately that Bassett is an amazing educator and knows her stuff. While I am familiar with the product and simply liked the quick and effective anesthetic action, I had no idea why it was so amazing. Bassett quickly explained the different types of topical anesthetics, and she said that DycloPro is a ketone product that has a decreased risk of allergies compared to other products on the market.

During its absence, Bassett and many other dental professionals used a compounded dyclonine topical. While this helped fill the need, she explained that “compounding topicals is much like making a burger. It turns out a little different each time and everyone has their own spin.”

In compounding, rules for sterile production methods vary greatly, and as infection control experts, this should give us pause. With the return of DycloPro, clinicians now have a reliable, consistent, sterile product and can count on Septodont’s guaranteed quality controls.

DycloPro is ex-treme-ly versatile. In fact, a quick look at the instructions for use (IFU) will show you that our medical counterparts have long applied its benefits for a variety of procedures. In dentistry, it can be swabbed on or used as a rinse for a larger area in a variety of applications, with an extremely low risk to the patient. Here are a few of its uses:

  • Gag reflex when taking x-rays or impressions
  • Aphthous ulcers, painful lesions
  • Preinjection
  • Before scaling or probing

One of the main benefits of DycloPro is the ability to measure out the dose. The product comes with a clear maximum recommended dose (MRD), which reduces the risk of toxicity.

I’ll never forget that day in hygiene school when I dipped my pocket-​recording probe directly into the bottle of dyclonine hydrochloride to help with sensitivity, and ended up having to throw away the entire bottle!

Bassett recommends keeping the bottle in central supply and measuring the dosage with a disposable, single-use pipette and then transferring it to your operatory. This not only assists in infection control and prevents product waste; it also allows you to track and document how much DycloPro was used. As good stewards of documentation, this is significant. 

One thing in the IFU caught my eye: DycloPro can be used for a period of seven days after opening. While some weeks this is not a problem, other weeks I might have hygiene school flashbacks of throwing away a full bottle. After consulting with Septodont, I learned the seven-day rule is about sterility, not efficacy. So when you use an aseptic technique, the product will continue to deliver just as it did when you first opened it.

As we ended our chat, I asked Bassett about the top benefits of DycloPro. What makes this product something she never stopped longing for? She summed it up like this:

  • Versatility offers quick onset, large field, effective and durable anesthetic action 
  • Low allergenicity
  • Low toxicity, while having a precise MRD (minimal residual disease) that is measurable 
  • Ease of metabolism as a ketone

Finding a product that works, is safe, and can be used for multiple procedures is a big deal in our busy clinical lives . . .  and with our limited cabinet space! To have a good product disappear from the dental market was disappointing, but its return is cause for celebration. I’m grateful for the opportunity to celebrate with Bassett and to understand just why she loved this product even way back when. Welcome back, old friend! 

Editor's note: This article is sponsored by Septodont. Content has been reviewed for editorial integrity per RDH guidelines. For more information on our editorial standards, see rdhmag.com/page/submission-guidelines.

Amanda Hill, BSDH, RDH, has been in dentistry for more than 25 years. She currently practices part-time clinically and is an industry educator for DentalPost.net. She recently began sharing her passions by writing for dental companies and magazines. Hill is a member of the advisory board for RDH magazine and hosts her own podcast on the Dental Podcast Network. She is a proud RDH, Navy spouse, and mom of three.

About the Author

Amanda Hill, BSDH, RDH, CDIPC

Amanda Hill, BSDH, RDH, CDIPC, is an enthusiastic speaker, innovative consultant, and award-winning author who brings over 25 years of clinical dental hygiene and education to dentistry. Recipient of ADS’s Emerging Infection Control Leader award and an active participant with the advisory board for RDH magazine, DentistryIQ, and ADS’s Infection Control in Practice Editorial Review Board and membership committee, Amanda (also known as the Waterline Warrior) strives to make topics in dentistry accurate, accessible, and fun. She can be reached at [email protected].