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Int J Dent Hyg. 2009 Nov;7(4):270-2. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2009.00372.x.

Complications of local anaesthesia. An observational study.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Local anaesthesia is increasingly used by dental hygienists. As little is known about the incidence of adverse effects during and after the administration of local anaesthetics, we evaluated side-effects associated with local anaesthesia.


A prospective observational study was conducted using standard criteria among a group of 103 patients receiving mandibular block anaesthesia.


Physical reactions like clenching fists (14.5%), moaning (12.6%) and turning pale (7.8%) were frequently observed. Patients (3.8%) showed a painful reaction because of needle contact with a nerve or the periosteum. Systemic complications were not observed. After the injection, 41.7% said they felt tense during the administration; 4.9% of the patients reported swallowing problems and 3.9% a tachycardia.


These results suggest that administration of local anaesthesia has a small risk of adverse events. Complications, if they occur, seem minor and transient in nature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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