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Dental Anesthesia

Allergy to caine

04/15/2008

Question:

I get a severe reaction to the caine family of freezing agents. My face swells, pustils come out on my face and my skin is like an alligators. Is there an alternative??

Answer:

This sounds like a true allergy. There is really no such thing as the "caine" family of local anesthetics per se as many have different structures. It may be that you can tolerate one of the amide or ester local anesthetics. I would consult with an allergist who can do subdermal testing of various agents. There are a number to choose from.

If it turns out that you are allergic to all local anesthetics, general anesthesia can be provided. This can be in your dentist's office with a dentist anesthesiologist (www.asdahq.org) or in a hospital. With documented local anesthetic allergy, this should be covered under your medical insurance but there will still be a sizable co-payment. The office-based anesthetic will likely be much more cost effective.

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Response by:

Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS
Formerly, Clinical Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University