Dental Anesthesia and What You Should Know!

Anesthesia For Dental Procedures

Certain dental procedures require some form of anesthesia. Anesthesia may also be administered to patients who are nervous or anxious, or for some patients with disabilities.

The most common anesthesia is a local injection used for filling cavities or performing root canals. This type of anesthesia will last for 2-3 hours after the procedure and does not cause drowsiness. Complicated procedures or for those patients with severe anxiety or disabilities may require conscious sedation. Typically Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) is often used, as are oral sedatives or oral injections. And finally, general anesthesia which will cause a loss of consciousness. Deep sedation and general anesthesia  are usually given for procedures

Administration of Anesthesia

When your dentist administers a local anesthetic, he will first dry the injection spot with a cotton roll by swabbing the area with a gel that numbs the skin. Your dentist will then slowly inject the needle site with the anesthesia into the gum tissue. You may feel a little sting from the anesthesia when it moves into the tissue. Numbness from anesthesia  may last up to several hours after the procedure. You may find it difficult to speak clearly, eat or drink afterwards. Being careful not to eat food until the numbness wears off to avoid biting your tongue or cheek. You can cause damage to yourself without knowing it when you are numbed.

Nitrous Oxide is a simple process. The Nitrous Oxide is mixed with oxygen and administered through a mask that fits over the nose. The patient will breathe the mixture through their nose to help relieve anxiety or nervousness.

Getting Prepared For Your Procedure

Although side effects from a local anesthetic are rare, the following is a list of the common side effects that may occur:

  • Numbness outside of the localized area. Your mouth or eyelid can droop. Recovery usually occurs when the anesthesia wears off.
  • A hematoma (bruise) can occur at the injection site, if the needle hits a blood vessel.
  • Increased heart rate. It may only last for a few minutes but its important to let your doctor know if this has ever happened to you.
  • Numbness and pain caused by the needle hitting a nerve can last for days, weeks or even months until the nerve heals.
  • An allergic reaction to the anesthetic is much less common but can occur. Prior to the procedure be sure to let your doctor know about all of the medications, prescribed and over the counter, as well as, vitamins or supplements you are taking to avoid drug interactions. Be sure to tell your doctor about any previous reactions you may have had regarding medications.

It is recommended that pregnant women in the first trimester avoid major dental treatment. After the first trimester you can discuss options with your doctor, obstetrician or midwife. Postponing treatment until after pregnancy unless for essential treatments is the rule of thumb.

Pediatric Dentistry of Pleasant Hill

At Pediatric Dentistry of Pleasant Hill you will find our office to be a pleasant and caring environment. We know a positive experience can set the tone for your child’s future dental health. That is why our office has been designed to be “kid friendly”. Even more importantly, our pediatric dentists and professional staff have dedicated their careers to helping children. We establish trust with your child by creating a safe and happy place for them to be. The latest in dental technology is combined with genuine compassion and concern.


For more articles on dental health, see our main blog page.

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply