Dental Anesthesia

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At Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry, our North Carolina dentists want to make sure that your dental visit is pleasant. We understand that dental anxiety is common, so we go out of our way to help our patients feel as relaxed as possible. That includes any time we administer local anesthesia as part of a procedure. Let us know if the thought of getting a numbing shot has you feel anxious, and we’ll do what we can to reassure you and keep you comfortable.

What Is Local Anesthesia?

We use local anesthesia to numb isolated sections of your mouth in order to complete procedures like fillings and crown placements. Local anesthesia eliminates pain in the area where we’ll be working, but it has no effect on your consciousness. You’ll be awake the whole time. We offer two different kinds of local anesthesia at our offices:

  • Topical anesthesia: Our high-strength topical gel numbs the gums before an injection, so you won’t feel anything but pressure when we give you a numbing shot. For many patients, the stick of the needle makes them anxious, so this helps ease nerves.
  • Local anesthesia: This injection goes into the area of the mouth that we’ll be treating. The powerful medication we use blocks the nerves from sensing and transmitting any pain.

Administering Local Anesthesia

Before we begin your procedure, we’ll thoroughly dry the area and apply the topical anesthesia. After a few minutes, the surface area will be numb, and we can inject the numbing medication into the area. In order to keep you comfortable during the numbing process, we use the following measures:

  • Warmed anesthetic: We remove the “cold” feeling that you often experience when getting an injection. The medication is warmed to body temperature, making the shot more comfortable.
  • DentalVibe®: The award-winning DentalVibe device uses soothing vibrations to block pain sensations from ever making it to the brain. The vibration signals travel to the brain faster than pain signals, so you won’t feel anything but some pressure.
  • The Wand® (Single-Tooth Anesthesia/CompuDent®): This leading-edge technology provides a more comfortable injection experience. It is computer-controlled, so the flow of anesthetic medication is slow, steady, accurate, and comfortable. The device is small and looks like a pen, so if the sight of a syringe triggers your nerves, this device can ease that. Plus, you won’t leave the office with a numb face.


You will still feel the effects of local anesthetic for a couple of hours after your treatment is complete. You may feel as though your cheeks, lips, or gums are swollen, but they aren’t. The numbness also makes speaking difficult for a while. To avoid accidental injury, you should wait to eat or chew anything until you have full feeling back in your face.

FAQs About Local Anesthesia

Is local anesthesia recommended during wisdom teeth extraction?

When our team removes wisdom teeth, we always recommend getting local anesthesia to make the process more comfortable. If you’re having more than one tooth removed or you have particularly bad dental anxiety, we may use general anesthesia, which often causes the patient to sleep during the procedure.

Is local anesthesia the same as sedation?

Local anesthesia only affects the immediate area around the injection. Anyone who receives a local anesthetic will stay awake and alert throughout the procedure. Sedation dentistry, on the other hand, is used to relieve anxiety and lets patients achieve deep relaxation, sometimes even putting them to sleep for a while.

Is local anesthesia safe?

Local anesthesia is extremely safe. We use it successfully on patients of all ages to help them have a pain-free treatment experience. There are a few side effects that you may experience, but we’ll go over everything before administering your injection.

We want to help you have a pain-free dental experience. Call today to schedule a consultation at one of our North Carolina dental practices to learn more.

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