Is dental anaesthetic dangerous for you?

Is dental anaesthetic dangerous for you?


Dental anaesthetic is very important. The procedures are scary -the pain associated with extractions, injections and that dental drill! 

Fortunately, medical technology offers us the choice of anaesthetic – you get to decide what suits you best, financially as well as for your individual tolerance level. 

Today there are loads of options available for dental anaesthetics, says Healthline. Medications can be taken or administered on their own or combined for better effect. It’s individualized for a safe and successful procedure.

There are three main types of anaesthesia: local, sedation, and general. They each have specific uses, benefits and risks. 

The type of anaesthetics used also depends on the person’s age, health condition, length of the procedure, and any adverse reactions to painkillers in the past.

Anaesthetics work in different ways depending on what’s used. Anaesthetics can be short-acting when applied directly to an area or work for longer times when more complicated surgery is required.

The success of dental anaesthesia depends on:

  • the drug
  • the area being anaesthetized
  • the procedure
  • individual factors

The first recorded anaesthetic procedure took place in 1846. Anaesthetics have developed immensely since then. It can be not very clear because of the different options available.

Let us ease your mind before your next dental appointment.

What are the types of dental anaesthetics?

According to Healthline, anaesthesia means a lack of loss of sensation with or without consciousness. There are many options available to dental practices. 

You can use certain medications on their own. Others need to be combined for a better effect. Each anaesthetic is individualized for safety and a successful procedure. 

The types of anaesthetics depend on age, health condition, length of the procedure and any adverse reactions to previous drugs. 

Depending on what’s being used, anaesthetics work in different ways. Some may be short-acting when applied to an area, or it works for longer times in cases of more severe surgeries. 

The success of dental anaesthesia depends on the drug, the anaesthetized area, the procedure and individual factors.

The timing of the procedure may affect dental anaesthesia. Research shows that inflammation can have a negative impact on how well the anaesthetics work. 

There are three main types of anaesthesia – local, sedation and general. Each one has a specific use. For example, using local anaesthesia for teeth in the lower jaw section of your mouth differs from anaesthesia for your upper jaw. 


  • articaine
  • bupivacaine
  • lidocaine
  • mepivacaine
  • prilocaine

Local anaesthesia

Local anaesthesia is used for cavity filling and other simple procedures.. It takes a shorter time and is less complicated. 

When you get a local anaesthetic, you are conscious and can communicate. The area is numb, and you won’t feel pain. 

Most local anaesthetics last from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. Sometimes they will add a vasopressor to increase the effect and keep the anaesthetic from spreading to the rest of your body. 

Local anaesthetics are available and over the counter and as a prescription. It comes in gel, ointment, cream, spray, patch, liquid and is injectable. Light sedation helps you to relax as well.


Sedation has several levels. It can relax you, help with pain, or keep you still in a procedure if you have anxiety. Sedation may cause procedure amnesia. 

When sedated, you may be fully conscious and able to respond to commands, semi-conscious or barely conscious. Sedation is either mild, moderate or deep. If deeply sedated, you are not aware of your surroundings. You respond to repeated or painful stimulation.

Dentists can administer sedation medication orally, inhaled, intramuscularly or intravenously. Intravenously sedation is riskier as moderate or deep. They monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.

General anaesthesia

Dentists use general anaesthesia for lengthy procedures. Patients who have a lot of anxiety prefer to be unconscious. Most don’t remember the procedure after.

Dentists administer general anaesthesia via a face mask or intravenously. It does have different risks. The level of anaesthesia is dependent on the procedure and you, as the patient. 

Side effects

Dental anaesthesia side effects depend on the anaesthetic used. General anaesthesia is riskier than local anaesthesia or sedation, so reactions do vary. Individual factors play a role in this too.

Report side effects:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • headaches,
  • sweating,
  • shivering,
  • hallucinations,
  • confusion,
  • slurred speech,
  • a dry mouth,
  • sore throat,
  • pain
  • dizziness,
  • tiredness,
  • numbness and lockjaw.

Added vasoconstrictors, such as epinephrine, can cause heart and blood pressure problems. 

Always ask for advice.

If you are on medication, speak to your dental care team about the possible effects. Anxiety before a dental procedure is common. It can complicate treatment. 

Discuss concerns and expectations about the procedure. Ask about medication used and possible effects you can expect during and after treatment.

Share your medical history. If you have allergies, what medication are you using? Include over the counter medicines, prescriptions and supplements.

Be clear about special instructions you need to follow before and after the procedure. If required, arrange for someone to pick you up. You might be woozy for a while after, so don’t drive.  and ask about any other information. Your dental provider will arrange contact if you have complications or questions.

Affinity Dental ensures that you receive service from only certified professionals. You can choose from a list of dentists from a network. 

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