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Dental Anesthesia

Swelling after dental treatment

10/30/2007

Question:

I recently went in for a root canal and experienced no problem. Today I went in for the temporary crown and while they were performing the procedure, my eye and right side of my face swelled up quite a bit. This was about 50 minutes or so in the procedure when they were almost finished. I noticed in when they were putting the impression in my mouth for the temporary crown but couldn`t tell them to stop. When they took out the impression, I told them something was wrong and they noticed my face and eye completely swollen. The dr. said she had never seen it before and didn`t look like a reaction to the novacaine since that would have happened right away. She thought the novacaine went into a pocket between my muscle and fascia or something and just spread to my eye area and neck. They said I shouldn`t need to go to the dr. unless I couldn`t breathe or swallow. I have been using ice and advil to try to remove the swelling but it does not seem to be doing anything yet. The procedure ended about 2 1/2 hours ago. Is there something else that may have caused this or that I could be doing?

Answer:

It is not clear what has caused this swelling. This may be an “air embolism” where some air was introduced into the tissue space with the dental drill. That would be one possibility. This does not sound like a local anesthetic issue. It may be infectious in origin, but a swelling that quickly is somewhat unlikely. Please see your dentist right away if this has not resolved.

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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