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Dentists inject anesthetic to block sensory transmission by the alveolar nerves. The superior alveolar nerves are not usually anesthetized directly because they are difficult to approach with a needle. For this reason, the maxillary teeth are usually anesthetized locally by inserting the needle beneath the oral mucosa surrounding the teeth. The inferior alveolar nerve probably is anesthetized more often than any other nerve in the body. To anesthetize this nerve, the dentist inserts the needle somewhat posterior to the patient’s last molar.
Several nondental nerves are usually anesthetized during an inferior alveolar block. The mental nerve, which supplies cutaneous innervation to the anterior lip and chin, is a distal branch of the inferior alveolar nerve. When the inferior alveolar nerve is blocked, the mental nerve is blocked also, resulting in a numb lip and chin. Nerves lying near the point where the inferior alveolar nerve enters the mandible often are also anesthetized during inferior alveolar anesthesia. For example, the lingual nerve can be anesthetized to produce a numb tongue. The facial nerve lies some distance from the inferior alveolar nerve, but in rare cases anesthetic can diffuse far enough posteriorly to anesthetize that nerve. The result is a temporary facial palsy (paralysis or paresis), with the injected side of the face drooping because of flaccid muscles, which disappears when the anesthesia wears off. If the facial nerve is cut by an improperly inserted needle, permanent facial palsy may occur.
Additional recommended knowledge
Forms of dental anesthesia are similar to general medical anesthesia except for the use of nitrous oxide, relatively uncommon outside of the dental field in the U.S.
The ancillary tool (generally part of a dental engine) used to supply either water or air to the oral cavity for the purpose of cleaning debris away from the area the dentist is working on, is also referred to as a dental syringe. A 3-way syringe has separate internal channels supplying air, water or a mist of air and water, created by combining the pressurized air with the waterflow. The syringe tip can be separated from the main body and replaced when necessary.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dental_anesthesia". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|