ABOVE: KOL Dr. Stanley Malamed speaks this morning about local anesthetics at the Benco Dental Sales Forum, Orlando, Fla.
The challenges of local anesthetic — patient anxiety, wasted time, overall efficacy — are legion. In an attempt to make the entire process easier for dentists and their chairbound charges, Dr. Mic Falkel, who majored in chemistry and biology before dental school, put his lab skills to work.
“Once a chemist, always a chemist,” says Dr. Falkel, 49, a general dentist who has been a partner at the Monterey Peninsula Dental Group in California since 1989. Also the cofounder and chief medical officer of Onpharma, Dr. Falkel more than a decade ago began work on his brainstorm: Onset, a buffering system that enables dentists to prepare local anesthetic chair side and administer it immediately.
Onset works by hastening analgesia and reducing injection pain by adjusting Lidocaine with an Epinephrine solution to raise the pH of the anesthetic.
It numbs within 35 seconds. “I wanted to be able to give anesthetic and go right to work,” Dr. Falkel says. “It’s not just about your time; it’s your patients’ time as well.”
He presented his initial findings to Dr. Stanley Malamed, author of “The Handbook of Local Anesthesia,” who became a primary investigator in Onpharma’s clinical study. “I’ve been trying to figure this out my whole career,” he told Dr. Falkel, “and you’ve done it.”
After 11 years of clinical trials and regulatory hurdles (“I was hoping to be an overnight success,” Dr. Falkel jokes), he now likens the industry-changing effect he envisions for Onset to that of the smartphone: a product people can’t even imagine not existing. “Onset is going to transform dentistry,” he says. Procedure-ready patients worldwide are surely rooting for him.