Section IV. ANESTHETIC INSTRUMENTS
a. Introduction. Following the basic examination, the anesthetic is administered,
when required. There are a few situations, such as an oral prophylaxis, in which an
anesthetic is not necessary. However, in most restorative or surgical procedures, the
dental officer will administer some type of anesthesia.
b. Uses. Anesthesia is the loss of sensation. It may be partial or complete.
Certain drugs are used in dentistry to achieve anesthesia for the prevention of pain during
surgical and restorative procedures. Local anesthesia, or anesthesia limited to small
areas of the body, is used for most dental operations. General anesthesia, or insensibility
of the entire body, is sometimes used for extensive oral surgery and cases in which local
anesthesia is contraindicated. See paragraph 1-13 for systemic conditions requiring
special precautions during anesthesia and surgery.
c. Local Anesthesia. Local surface (topical) anesthesia may be achieved by
application of certain drugs to the skin or mucous membrane (see figure 1-14). Examples
are Xylocaine (lidocaine hydrochloride) and Benzocaine (ethylamine benzoate).
Another type of agent used for topical anesthesia is known as refrigerants (ethyl chloride).
These are sometimes employed to relieve gagging tendencies during dental operations
and to anesthetize the tissues over an abscessed area before incision for drainage. For
local anesthesia of deeper tissues, such as the nerves of teeth, muscles, and alveolar
bone, an anesthetic solution is injected into soft tissues.
Figure 1-14. Materials for application of topical anesthetic.