I strongly disagree with Dr. Blaes` assessment of The Wand, a computer-controlled, local-anesthesia delivery system by Milestone Scientific, as a "Pearl."
Dr. Blaes states that ever since he saw The Wand at the ADA meeting in Washington, he has been convinced that every dentist should have one. But he never states that he has used the device in his own practice (as he so often does with the products he evaluates for his column). In my opinion, this is one high-tech item that we all can live quite nicely without.
I had The Wand in my office for a month recently and was quick to take the company up on its offer of a 30-day, money-back guarantee. All the patients who experienced The Wand in my office said that it was no more or less painless than injections I had given them in the past. But there were problems with it.
For one thing, the tubes and foot- pedal hose and electrical cord seemed to be all over the place in my operatory. It doesn`t simply fit in a drawer - it takes up space. Plus, a major drawback of the device was how very long it takes to deliver anesthesia. And, if you need to aspirate (as when using the much-talked-about anterior middle superior alveolar nerve block, for example), it seems to take forever. But even more importantly, I found it to be incapable of delivering profound anesthesia more than 50 percent of the time when giving a POL injection. That truly is unacceptable. Other colleagues have related similar results.
The company states that you begin the flow of anesthetic before needle insertion, so that an anesthetic drip precedes the needle. This "anesthetic pathway" means that there virtually is no sensation or pain as the needle penetrates the target, according to the company. But why do you need a computer-controlled microprocessor to accomplish this? Can`t you begin the flow of anesthetic before needle insertion just as effectively with a regular self-aspirating syringe? My patients gave me a resounding "yes."
My suggestion: save the $1,000 per operatory for each Wand unit, save the $2 per injection on the required disposable tubing, save the aggravation of trying to fit this thing into your operatory, and save the time it takes to use it. Stick with your low-tech, tried and true, good old-fashioned, self-aspirating syringe.
Michael Shakin, DDS
Staten Island, NY
Editor`s Note: I have used, and continue to use, The Wand in my own practice. If I had not used it, it would not be in the Pearls column. In my seminar, I have heard similar comments from some of the doctors who have used The Wand. But many of the doctors who have used The Wand have positive comments. Thanks for your comments.