Anesthesia is a way to control pain during a surgery or procedure by using medicine called anesthetics. The dentist usually uses a local anesthetic to numb the area, such as Novocain. Epinephrine is added to constrict the blood vessels and keep the anesthesia longer in the area that needs the pain relief. Epinephrine is also known as adrenaline and is also secreted by the adrenal glands.
You may have noticed that when you get a dental injection, sometimes your heart feels like it’s going to beat right out of your chest. You’ve probably just assumed that your heart is beating so hard because you’re nervous. But if you suffer from fibromyalgia and have a sensitive nervous system, these symptoms can be blown right out of proportion.
Most of the local anesthetics used in dentistry in the United States contain epinephrine (also known as adrenaline.) Not only is your body causing your heart to speed up by releasing adrenaline, your dentist is giving you adrenaline in the local anesthetic!
Don’t worry, dentists don’t want you to have a double-dose of adrenaline to make you nervous. Local anesthetics contain epinephrine for another reason: The epinephrine constricts your blood vessels.
With your blood vessels constricted, the local anesthetic stays near your tooth for a long time. That way, it gives your dentist a lot of time to work on your tooth without you feeling it. Another reason that dentists want your blood vessels constricted is so that only a small amount of local anesthetic gets absorbed into your body.
You may have felt your heart pounding more during some dental injections more than others. If the dentist happens to inject the local anesthetic into a small blood vessel, it can quickly travel to your heart and cause it to beat very hard and fast. This generally subsides after few minutes or so and is not dangerous to you. Most of the time, the local anesthetic is not injected directly into a vessel and stays right near the nerve without affecting the heart.
Effects of anesthesia when combined with epinephrine can be:
- The blood pressure and glucose levels may rise and you may experience a headache and nausea and may even vomit.
- Mixed with Novocain, epinephrine may cause local tissue necrosis or systemic toxicity.
- Palpitations, tachycardia symptoms, anxiety, tremors, hypertension and headaches may occur.
- Arrhythmia and pulmonary edema may also be some of the negative side effects when given in extra amounts.
Tell your doctor if you suffer from liver, heart, muscle, blood disorders, or fibromyalgia. Your dentist may have to adjust your Novocain dosage to prevent side effects of anesthesia.
As a patient of fibromyalgia, it is important to find a dentist that you feel comfortable with and listens to you.. Special treatment can lower those side effects when encountering dental work.