Dental Local Anesthesia

Also known as: local anesthesia, local anesthetic.

What is dental local anesthesia?

Local anesthesia is a numbing medication that is applied to just one part of the body. It differs from regional anesthesia, which affects an entire area of the body, or general anesthesia, which makes the patient unconscious. Dentists use local anesthesia for a variety of procedures ranging from filling cavities to tooth extractions.

What happens during the procedure?

The dentist will clean an area of the gum or mouth, and may swab the area with a numbing agent to begin the numbing process. Then the anesthetic is injected with a small needle. There is a slight pinch as the needle enters, but it usually isn’t too painful. That area of the mouth then becomes completely numb for the upcoming dental procedure.

Is any special preparation needed?

In most cases, no special preparations are needed.

What are the risk factors?

Complications from dental local anesthesia are rare. They may include a blood-filled swelling known as a hematoma, or allergic reactions to the anesthesia.

Reviewed by: Melissa Meincken, DDS

This page was last updated on: June 24, 2021 01:28 PM

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