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With dental anesthetics there more choices  today;  many different types are currently available. The common word for dental anesthetics that is most familiar is ‘novacaine’. Thirty years ago or so novacaine was widely used, however it is no longer used today.

Lidocaine came into common useage about twenty years ago and currently it is still the most frequently used anesthetic. However, it has epinephrine in it which is basically adrenaline. If you have ever had a reaction to epinephrine, you would know it. Your heart starts to rush and you usually feel a little panicky and light headed. While this usually passes in a few minutes, it is very disconcerting and sometimes scary, especially if you don’t know what is happening.

The reason anesthetics contain epinephrine is because it helps with a longer lasting numbing effect. Thankfully there are a number of choices that do not contain epinephrine that can be used. A couple of these are Mepivicaine and Citanest, which is my personal favorite, because I find it a little more effective. There are other choices like Carbocaine, but there is some talk about toxicity here.

If you can tolerate epinephrine, a good choice is Septocaine because of its effectiveness. Also, there is some indication that it is somewhat more bio-compatible in that its ingredients are less stressful for the body to process. Be certain that your dentist is aware if you have ever experienced a reaction to epinephrine like the one described above, so that a non-‘Epi’ anesthetic can be used for any of your dental procedures.

Make sure to drink as much water as you are comfortable with after having a treatment where numbing has been necessary, to help with the healing process and to aid your system in flushing out whatever anesthetics have been used. Make sure as well that you don’t have coffee on the morning of your procedure, as this can make it more difficult for the anesthetic to work effectively.