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Local Anesthesia


Patient Smiling in a dental chairWe can numb the area with a simple local anesthetic prior to minor treatments including the removal of disease or decay. A local anesthetic is the most commonly used pain relief option in dentistry. It is fast, easy, and eliminates discomfort at the site. At Dallas Oral Surgery Associates, we want our patients to receive the treatment they need for better oral health, while still remaining comfortable. We offer local anesthetic for minor needs, or can discuss various conscious sedation options to relax nerves as needed.

What is a local anesthetic?


You may have had a local anesthetic before, but never questioned what was causing the numbing sensation. In the past, most dentists used a product known as novocain as their anesthetic. The term is still commonly used today, though most dentists now use lidocaine. Lidocaine allows us to inject less volume, and has had less problems with allergic reactions than its predecessor. The injection also contains a vasoconstrictor and sodium hydroxide to assist the numbing agent and sodium chloride to help with absorption. Together, these ingredients block the nerves that sense or transmit pain, and provide a numbing sensation to the mouth tissue.

Local anesthetics are considered a safe option for pain relief when applied appropriately as stated by the American Dental Association. Even still, we ask that you disclose allergies or medical conditions before use. There are other options available if needed.

The most common treatments performed with a local anesthetic include:
•  Remove decay and fill cavities
•  Treating tissue for gum disease
•  Preparing for a dental crown
•  Root Canal Therapy

Preparation and Injection


When we have determined that a local anesthetic is needed, we begin by preparing the space. We will dry the location and first place a numbing gel onto the tissue. This will prevent the patient from feeling more than a pinch from the needle. The amount of lidocaine used is based on the patient and their needs. In just a few minutes, they should begin to feel the numbing sensation begin to spread. We may inject more as needed. Once the patient is comfortable, we can then proceed with the treatment.

Following Treatment


Your tissue may remain numb for several hours following treatment. This can have both positive and negative attributes. The positive effect is not feeling the treated area which may be tender. The downside may be some discomfort from being numb. We will caution you to not eat anything while numb as we don’t want you to unknowingly hurt soft tissue while chewing.

Other Sedation Options


In addition to a local anesthetic, we do offer various conscious sedation options. This would include inhalants such as nitrous oxide blended with oxygen, sometimes referred to as laughing gas. We also have liquid or pill form medications designed to induce relaxation. Discuss these options with our team. Oftentimes they can be used in conjunction with a local anesthetic especially for patients who experience feelings of anxiety with dental work.
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