Dental Anaesthetic

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Tuesday, 2 July, 2019

Dental injections – your questions answered 

If you’ve ever put off visiting the dentist because you’re worried you’ll need an injection, you’re not alone. Dental anaesthesia can make some patients uneasy. However, like a lot of things, the thought of it usually much worse than the reality. 

Dentists use a variety of dental anaesthetics depending on what treatment you’re having and what the specific anaesthetic needs to do. Here we explore why we use dental anaesthetics, how they work, what goes in them and whether they are safe for pregnant women. 

Why use dental anaesthetics? 

Without anaesthetics, many dental procedures could be quite painful. Dental anaesthetics do a brilliant job of numbing your mouth’s nerves to keep them from transmitting pain signals to your brain. You simply do not interpret the procedure as painful – and your dentist can perform the treatment safely and correctly.

How does dental anaesthetic work? 

Dental anaesthetic works by temporarily deactivating the nerves around the treatment area. Procedures like fillings, crowns and root canals may involve drilling into a tooth to remove decayed tooth material. By using dental needles, your dentist can safely perform a variety of procedures without you feeling it. 

What’s involved? 

Topical anaesthetic (commonly referred to as numbing gel) is applied to a specific area of soft tissue to numb it. Your dentist will apply the gel to the cheek or gums and let it sit on the surface for a few minutes to make a dental injection more comfortable. 

When local anaesthetic is necessary, the treatment area can be numbed further by using a very thin dental needle. When numbing gel is used beforehand, you may only feel a slight pressure while this is taking place. 

What’s in dental anaesthetic? 

Lidocaine is the most commonly used local anaesthetic among dentists. Dental anaesthetic injections often include a small amount of adrenaline, a hormone your body already makes for itself in the adrenal glands. Adding adrenaline is helpful because it constricts the blood vessels around the injection site and helps the anaesthetic work better and last longer. 

Are dental needles safe during pregnancy?

It’s very important to stay on top of your dental hygiene while you are pregnant. If you need dental treatment, rest assured that studies have found dental injections to be safe for both you and your baby. 


Still feel unsure about dental anaesthetic? Talk to your ineedadentist about any concerns. 

Dr Emily Squirrell graduated dentistry from Griffith University where she was awarded the prize for academic excellence each year. As a true local, born and bred on the Gold Coast, Emily is an ideal fit for the team at Teeth on Ferry. As a clinician, Emily is known for her gentle and friendly nature whilst maintaining a through and meticulous approach to her clients’ oral health needs. Being a perfectionist at heart, she is dedicated to maintaining and developing her skills in every aspect of dentistry by regularly attending seminars and courses. Outside of dentistry, Emily enjoys spending time outdoors, travel and discovering new places.