Modern Anesthetics in Dental Anesthesia

The modern anesthetics owe a lot to cocaine, which was the first natural anesthetic to be used. Although, it is no longer used in dentistry, it is worth noting that the loss of sensation caused by it was quite adequate. Most of the drugs used today in dentistry are synthetic in nature. They belong to two groups, namely, Ester or Anilide group.


Most of these agents produce adequate loss of sensation, but some of them have more adverse reactions than the others and are hence not in common use.

Ester group Anilide group
Cocaine Bupivacaine
Benzocaine Etidocaine
Procaine Lidocaine (Most Commonly Used)
Tetracaine Mepivacaine

Lidocaine happens to be the most commonly used anesthetic agent in dentistry today.

A typical anesthetic solution contains lidocaine, adrenaline, methyl paraben, sodium meta-bisulphate, sodium chloride and water to make the solution. Adrenaline is a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it constricts the vessels, thereby prolonging the action of the anesthetic. The other chemicals are reducing agents to lidocaine hydrochloride and adrenaline.

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