Novocaine in Dentistry

It’s important to visit your dentist for checkups twice a year. If you have any issues that need to be addressed, it gives us a chance to identify them and discuss a plan of action with you. Taking that action, however, is often a source of anxiety for many patients. Is there no avoiding pain during dentistry?

Bypass Dental Pain!

Early in the twentieth century, dental practitioners began using a synthetic compound derived from benzoic acid called procaine. A German manufacturer marketed the compound as Novocain. As time went on, the term in the United States became Novocaine. Today, both words are a general term to describe oral anesthetics, or substances that induce local insensitivity to pain. (There are additional local anesthetics available now and the Yuba City Dentistry Group uses whatever anesthetic is expected to work best for you.) How do anesthetics work?

Local anesthetics generally function by blocking the nerves in the area from sending signals to your brain. In effect, the anesthetic molecules take the place of other molecules that normally help transmit nerve impulses. So although the sensory nerves do register something happening, the pain signals never reach the brain! Therefore, you sense no pain.

Novocaine sometimes generates minor side effects like dizziness, headache, drowsiness or muscle twitching. These effects diminish as the anesthetic loses its effect. Local anesthetics wear off because a specific enzyme starts breaking them down after they are injected. Depending on the dose, in usually takes an hour for the natural sensitivity of your mouth to return.

Safety is Important

In rare cases, a patient’s body might not produce enough of the enzyme that breaks down Novocaine. If that’s the case, it merely means that it will take longer for the effects to dissipate. There are a very few cases, even more rare, where a patient has an allergic reaction to Novocaine. If you experience any of the following issues after receiving any local anesthetic, let us know immediately:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Trembling
  • Irregular heartbeat

A common addition to Novocaine is epinephrine (adrenalin), usually to lengthen the duration of the anesthetic’s effects. Because of additions like this, it’s vital to let us know about any and all medications you currently take, as well as your medical history. For instance, epinephrine is not recommended for patients with heart disease or high blood pressure. If you have such conditions, we offer alternative anesthetics that work just as well, without any increased risk to your health.

Novocaine is a great addition to the tools that the Yuba City Dentistry Group uses to maintain and improve your oral care. If you have further questions about Novocaine or would like to discuss alternatives for use during your procedure, such as oral conscious sedation, please give us a call or schedule an appointment online. Our goal is to provide the best oral care possible without adding any pain to it!


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Marcos Guzman

A great experience I went in for the first time with some major tooth pain and was needing a root canal and crown work done and the Dr there was very professional explained what I was needed to be done accurately overall great work was done looking forward to if I should have any dental problems again in the future knowing I will be taken care of fine and the staff is very friendly and professional