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1. The Basic Examination and Anesthetic Instruments

1-19. GENERAL

a. Introduction. Following the basic examination, the anesthetic is administered, when required. There are a few situations, such as an oral prophylaxis, in which an anesthetic is not necessary. However, in most restorative or surgical procedures, the dentist
 will administer some type of anesthesia.

b. Uses. Anesthesia is the loss of sensation. It may be partial or complete. Certain drugs are used in dentistry to achieve anesthesia for the prevention of pain during surgical and restorative procedures. Local anesthesia, or anesthesia limited to small areas of the body, is used for most dental operations. General anesthesia, or insensibility of the entire body, is sometimes used for extensive oral surgery and cases in which local anesthesia is contraindicated. See paragraph 1-13 for systemic conditions requiring special precautions during anesthesia and surgery.

c. Local Anesthesia. Local surface (topical) anesthesia may be achieved by application of certain drugs to the skin or mucous membrane. (See figure 1-14.) Examples are: Xylocaine® (lidocaine hydrochloride) and Benzocaine® (ethylamine benzoate). Another type of agent used for topical anesthesia is known as refrigerants (ethyl chloride). These are sometimes employed to relieve gagging tendencies during dental operations and to anesthetize the tissues over an abscessed area before incision for drainage. For local anesthesia of deeper tissues, such as the nerves of teeth, muscles, and alveolar bone, an anesthetic solution is injected into soft tissues.


Figure 1-14. Materials for application of topical anesthetic.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015