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Did you ever wonder if there is a difference between diet soda and regular soda when it comes to your teeth? Or, maybe you have always questioned what those numbers are we call out during your exam. What is a "Prophy" anyway?! Our blog is meant to answer all of your burning (or weird) questions about dentistry. Make sure to follow us and share on social media! Chances are good if you are wondering about something…so is everyone else!

Local Anesthetic – Is it Safe?

Posted on February 13th, 2022

Augusta dentist, Dr. Jonathan Bullard at Bullard Dental explains anesthesia and the difference between local anesthetic and general anesthetic.If you get to go on a tropical vacation, your ability to feel the warm sun and the smooth sand is crucial to enjoying the atmosphere. There are, however, times in life when you would rather not feel anything. Getting a dental procedure can be one of those times—as important as the procedure might be. In that case, thank goodness for modern medicine and anesthesia. 

Ancient dentists used a number of herbs and drugs to numb their patients. Thankfully, today, you have the option of completely safe and effective anesthesia. Dr. Jonathan Bullard, Augusta dentist shares more below about what anesthesia is and when you might need it.

What is Anesthesia?
Anesthesia is a type of medicine best known for dulling pain. The root-word “an” means without and “aesthesis” means feeling. Anesthesia literally means “without feeling.” That perfectly describes how most people want to feel if they need to get a cavity filled or a tooth pulled. Anesthesia can also help you feel relaxed during your treatment and ease your pain afterward.

Besides numbing your sensation to feel, anesthesia can also contain chemicals that help the medicine get into your blood and stay in your system as long as necessary. Millions of patients every year receive anesthesia from their dentist.

Local Anesthetic

There are two kinds of anesthetics: general and local. If you have major surgery, even oral surgery, your doctor might recommend general anesthesia to numb your entire body and cause you to sleep for the duration of the procedure. This might sound scary, but many people really enjoy the chance to take an amazing nap.

Most often, dental work only requires a local anesthetic. Local anesthetic blocks your nerves in a small, specific part of your body. In your dental office, this is usually administered by injection. A topical anesthetic can first be placed on your gums or inner cheek to numb you from feeling the injection. 

If you have a toothache, you might consider an at-home topical anesthetic to ease your pain until you can get in to see your Augusta dentist. Orajel™ is a popular topical numbing gel for adults and teething babies. Your local drugstore should have plenty of options depending on your specific needs.

Side Effects of Local Anesthesia

Anesthesia, when administered by a professional dentist, is very safe. Still, it’s important you know the potential side effects—especially if you have other health issues that might interact with your procedure. Talk to your dentist before agreeing to any medicine or treatment.

Potential side effects of local anesthesia are:

  • Hematoma: a blood-filled swelling at the injection site
  • Numbing and loose muscles in other parts of your face, beyond your mouth
  • Nerve injury at the injection site

Local anesthesia is commonly used safely and effectively with little to no side effects. 

After Your Appointment

If you receive a local anesthetic at the dentist, the numbing effects may stick around for a few hours after your appointment. Be careful not to bite down on your mouth where you don’t have any feeling. Plan on having some difficulty speaking, eating or drinking. (This is probably not the best time to schedule a first date or job interview!) You will be able to safely drive yourself home.

You can keep treating your pain at home with Tylenol or ibuprofen. Ask your Augusta dentist for a recommendation.

With general anesthesia, however, you will need transportation to and from your appointment, and someone should stay with you for several hours afterward while the effects wear off.

If you need any dental work or just a good professional cleaning, contact Bullard Dental today.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

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About Dr. Bullard

Dr. Bullard graduated cum laude from Augusta State University with a business administration and management degree. He served as vice president of his dental class at the Medical College of Georgia where he attained his DMD degree. Rather than entering into private practice directly after dental school, he furthered his education by completing a one-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center here in Augusta. Here he enriched his skills in diagnosis and treatment planning, endodontics, oral surgery, dental implants, and cosmetic dental procedures. Dr. Bullard is currently an Associate Fellow in the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.

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