Helping Patients Make Healthy Choices… Please Call Us Today

Can You Be Allergic to Novocaine

If you have a dental appointment coming up you have a number of questions and concerns. If one of your concerns is about a possible allergic reaction to a local anesthetic such as Novocaine, or lidocaine (which is more commonly used these days), you can probably stop fretting. While it is possible to have an allergic reaction to them, true allergies to general or local anesthetics is very rare, with frequency ranging from 1 in 5,000 cases to 1 in 25,000 cases. More people are merely sensitive to anesthetics than actually allergic to them. Symptoms of drug sensitivities include shaking, sweating, faintness, and heart palpitations.

What is an Allergy?

An allergy is when your body’s immune system overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance, known as an allergen. People are allergic to latex, pollen, bee stings, certain foods or medicines. Allergic reactions can be mild, moderate or life-threatening.

Allergic reactions to local anesthetics such as Novocaine or lidocaine include skin reactions (rash, hives, itching, swelling, etc.), trouble breathing, or anaphylactic shock, which is extremely rare. Most allergic reactions to local anesthetics involve only temporary itching and skin rash at the site of the injection.

Other Allergic Reactions

There are other chemicals in these local anesthetics that may trigger some allergic reactions. Most formulations contain epinephrine, which constricts blood vessels at the injection site. This decreases blood flow to the area so that the anesthetic stays near the injection site longer, making it more effective. Local anesthetics also contain preservatives to keep the epinephrine fresh. Allergies to epinephrine and these preservatives are rare, and any adverse reactions that may occur are often the result of sensitivities.

Talk to Your Dentist

If you have any concerns about anesthesia, or any aspect of an upcoming procedure or dental appointment, speak with your dentist. She or he can review your signs and symptoms to help you determine whether you can use Novocaine or lidocaine safely for dental procedures. There are newer sedation methods available that can reduce reliance on anesthetics as well.

At West County Dental, we provide personalized family dental care using state of the art procedures. Adhering to a standard of excellence, we provide comprehensive treatment, from preventive care to restorative dentistry. When you reserve a visit with West County Dental, you can be confident that our team of highly-trained dental professionals will provide you the care you need for a healthy smile. Call (314) 488-2921 or contact us through our website today!