Why does the dentist stick a needle in my gums? Why does my mouth feel numb? The answer to these questions involves dental anesthetic.
Some dental work (filling, crown, a root canal) requires a local anesthetic; a medication that is injected to numb the area being treated. The anesthetic stops your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain allowing you to be awake during the procedure without discomfort.
A block injection numbs a large region such as one side of your mouth or your upper jaw. An infiltration injection numbs a small area, the location where the needle is inserted. That’s why sometimes your whole mouth feels “frozen” and sometimes only a small spot is numb.
Having a needle inserted in your mouth can be scary! Knowing what is happening can help reduce anxiety. The procedure for receiving dental anesthetic includes the following steps:
Though dental anesthetic is very safe, there are mild side effects that may be experienced while the drug is wearing off. Watch for:
Though dental anesthetic is meant to affect a small area of your mouth, occasionally it also numbs your lips, cheeks, and tongue making it difficult to smile, speak clearly or drink for a while after the procedure. There are a few simple ways to speed up the return of normal sensation.
Anesthetic can remain in your system for up to 24 hours. For a few hours after receiving dental anesthetic, refrain from operating heavy machinery, driving a car, watching children and making important decisions. It’s also wise to avoid alcohol for a least a day. These simple precautions reduce the possibility of experiencing difficulties due to the after effects of the anesthetic.
Dental anesthetics are a safe and effective way to provide comfort during dental procedures. However, receiving an injection can be scary and overwhelming. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the injection of anesthetics, talk to your dentist.
For all your dental needs, questions, and concerns call Centennial Smiles at (587) 317-7959.