Local anesthetic is normally used to eliminate discomfort during a dental procedure. The word “local” means that it is used in close proximity to the area being treated. A local anesthetic will temporarily disconnect signals from nerves, essentially “numbing” any pain. Local anesthetic is typically given by injection. While patients may be familiar with the drug Novocain, there are several other local anesthetics in common use in dentistry today.
Certain local anesthetics contain ingredients (called vasoconstrictors) used to reduce localized bleeding for surgical procedures. This also helps to keep the local anesthetic confined to the area of the dental procedure, reducing their potential to cause issues in other parts of the body.
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