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Dental Anesthesia

Reaction to Dental Anesthesia

12/02/2010

Question:

I have had extensive dental work done through my life. I’ve had two procedures done recently which required the anesthetic to be used in my upper, front gum. During the procedure my sinuses became severely plugged and I had to sneeze a few times during the procedure. I thought when it happened the first time, it was a one off. Today, I had a second, similar procedure with the same reaction, severely plugged sinuses and the need to sneeze a few times. The dentist had to stop and sit me up to see if we could clear it. It’s been a few hours and I’m still stuffed up, like I have a severe head cold. Am I having a reaction to the anesthetic?

Answer:

I don't think you are having a reaction to the anesthetic. I have had several complaints such as this and it appears to be a somewhat common adverse effect of local anesthesia in this area.

The exact mechanism is unclear to me. I speculate that this is irritation of the nerves that go to these teeth that actually run through the sinus. The anesthetic has this effect on some people.

This could also be a reflex from stimulation of the area, or perhaps a combination. But, the other cases that I have investigated have resolved within 24 hours but one case took two days. I hope this helps.

Please contact me directly, if you would with your resolution.

For more information:

Go to the Dental Anesthesia health topic, where you can:

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