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What Is a Dental Nerve Block?

Have you been to the dentist and received local freezing? If so, then you have had a dental nerve block. Most dental procedures produce strong sensory stimuli to the point that it affects the amount of general anesthetic required and a painful recovery. Dental nerve blocks interrupt these sensory stimuli locally and should be a component of overall pain management. Dental nerve blocks can decrease the amount of gas anesthetic required- this helps decrease the possible negative side effects such as hypotension (low blood pressure), bradycardia (slow heartbeat) and hypoventilation (low respiratory rate).

Dental Nerve blocks also ease a patient’s recovery from anesthesia because adverse side effects such as hypertension (high blood pressure), tachycardia (fast heartbeat) and tachypnea (high respiratory rate) are minimized because of decreased oral pain.

Local anesthetics (nerve blocks) completely block sensory nerve transmission and prevent secondary (central) pain sensitization. Local blocks are often used in conjunction with other injectable and oral pain medications. The benefits of using multiple pain medications for dental and oral surgery, specifically dental nerve blocks, include:

  • Owners expect effective pain management
  • Pets are often discharged the same day after dental procedures, and owners want their pets to be as alert and pain-free as possible
  • Pets recover faster and with fewer complications
  • The amount and inhalant anesthetic required is decreased
  • They eliminate the pain perception which results in a smoother anesthesia experience
  • Local blocks continue to give pain management after the dental procedure is over, keeping the pet more comfortable
  • Signs of pain after dental procedures such as rough recoveries, vocalization, restlessness, pawing at the mouth, behaviour changes, decreased appetite and depression are minimized when dental blocks are used

Common dental and oral surgical procedures where dental nerve blocks are indicated include:

  • Surgical and non-surgical extractions
  • Advanced periodontal treatments, such as root planning, periodontal debridement and periodontal flap surgery
  • Oral trauma that involves lacerations of the lips, gums and tongue
  • Foreign body removal and jaw fractures that require hard and soft tissue surgical repair
  • Biopsies of masses
  • Corrective hard and soft tissue oral surgery (i.e. palate surgery and reconstruction surgery)

There are four main dental nerve blocks that we use. The Infraorbital Nerve Block affects the upper incisors, canines and the first, second and third premolars as well as the soft and hard tissues in front of the upper fourth premolars. The Maxillary Nerve Block affects the upper fourth premolar, upper molars and the soft and hard tissue behind the fourth premolars, including the hard and soft palate. The Middle Mental Nerve Block primarily affects the bottom incisors and the soft tissue around them. The Inferior Alveolar Nerve Block or the Mandibular Block affects all the teeth in the lower jaw, including the soft and hard tissues.

Dental nerve blocks are relatively safe when used correctly. Complications resulting from oral nerve blocks have been described in human dentistry. However, the incidence is extremely low. Complications are uncommon in pets. Dental nerve blocks significantly improve pet care and are a valuable addition to pain management for dental and oral surgical procedures here at Kingston Veterinary Clinic.

Written by Kristine Hanson, RVT

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dog dental

What Is a Dental Nerve Block?

Have you been to the dentist and received local freezing? If so, then you have had a dental nerve block. Most dental procedures produce strong sensory stimuli to the point that it affects the amount of general anesthetic required and a painful recovery.

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Last updated: July 23, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we can continue providing our full range of services, under certain restrictions. As our province enters the next phase of the reopening plan, we have some updates to share with you about our safety measures.

We are continuing to see all cases by appointment only including pets in need of vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, parasite prevention, and more.

Beginning June 22, 2020, clients are able to come into the hospital with their pets with the following restrictions:

SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

ONLINE CONSULTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE

If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday to Thursday: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm


NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Kingston Veterinary Clinic