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Dental Anesthesia

What Are My Options If I Am Allergic to Lidocaine?

12/16/2010

Question:

I’m severely allergic to Lidocaine, my heart rate goes up and I feel that I can’t swallow and my throat starts blocking up. So for my dental anesthesia they want to give me Carbocaine. Is that safe?

Answer:

If you have a true allergy to local anesthetic, and you may if your airway really became swollen, then it may be that mepivicaine (Brand name Carbocaine) might also be a problem.
 
An increase in heart rate is common with many local anesthetics due to medications added to increase duration of action and effectiveness. So, this is not a true allergy. Mepivicaine comes in a formulation without this additive.

Sometimes, a little bit of anesthetic leaks out and gets down the throat and it feels like the throat is truly swollen. Some people mistake this for a true allergy. If this was the cause of your throat "swelling", this is also not a true allergy.

Therefore, the history is very important. If there is any question, allergy testing with local anesthetics provided by your dentist might be indicated. I hope this helps. 

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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