Dental Anesthetic Sensitivity Facts

These patients may complain of sweating, heart palpitations, terrible migraines or even shaking (tremor).

Now epinephrine is a very important ingredient which helps making the anesthetic more efficient.

Imagine this: an anesthetic without epinephrine content can keep you numb for about 5 to 7 minutes, while an anesthetic with epi will keep you numb even for up to an hour.

Epinephrine is also important because it has vasoconstrictor properties; that is, it helps stopping the bleeding in soft tissues within the mouth.

Other patients might get extremely sensitive to Novocain and some of them get skin rashes or even asthma attacks. Most of these allergic reactions are not dangerous to your health, and the side effects experienced are only temporary.

However, someone who struggles with a huge dental phobia can easily have a panic attack if he/she experiences these sensations of shaking, fainting or the palpitations.

It is important to take allergy tests if you have experienced such sensations in the past at the dentist. If it shows that you are allergic to any of the preservatives within the anesthetic, the dentist can use anesthesia without epinephrine for instance.

There are other substitutes to lidocaine which contains epi, such as the prilocaine or the mepivacaine, which do not contain the ingredient.

Fortunately, there is no cross-allergen factor present with the local anesthetics containing amide. This means that a patient might experience an allergic reaction to mepivacaine or lidocaine, but he will not have any of the side effects if articaine is administered.

Talk openly to your dentist if you have experienced any unpleasant effects after local anesthesia at the dentist in the past. He/She will know exactly how to proceed, and will suggest a range of alternative options safer for you.

For minor dental work, and for those patients who have a good pain tolerance it is possible not to use anesthesia for minor work. This is suitable only in the case of filling a small cavity for instance, where the dentist does not have to drill deep into the tooth, or for other basic dental treatments.

Some patients get an adrenaline rush after being administered epinephrine anesthetic. The main symptoms include incontrollable shaking, cold sweats, heart palpitations and sometimes difficulty in breathing, dizziness & lightheadedness.

What happens is that your system reacts sensitively to the epi and it starts producing more adrenaline, getting you ready for the so called “fight or flight” response- your system is basically responding to threat by producing more adrenaline hormone than usual.

  • Dr Lad

    Most of your article was informative for the general population. Your assertion that someone can be allergic to epinephrine is incorrect. Epinephrine is a naturally occurring substance in all humans. It is also known as adrenaline. People can have a reaction from the epinephrine in in local anesthetic (as you describe in the first sentence), but this occurs when it is inadvertently injected into a blood vessel.