During oral surgery, most allergic reactions can be traced back to non-anesthetic drugs. However, on rare occasions, patients may experience mild or severe adverse reactions to the anesthetics used during surgery. Prior to any surgery, always make sure to alert your health care provider if you have any known allergies, to avoid additional problems. Read on for more information about potential allergic reaction risks.
Esters and Amines Anesthetics Classes
Anesthesia used in oral surgery can be broken down into two categories: esters or amines. While allergic reactions to these drug classes are always a risk, being allergic to one class does not mean you necessarily will be allergic to the other.
Drugs in the ester anesthetics category include cocaine, Novocain and benzocaine. Novocain is not used in dentistry today, due to the high numbers of allergic reactions it may cause. Additionally, if you experience allergic reactions to one ester class drug, you will likely experience the same reactions to other drugs of this nature.
Amine anesthetics are more modern and the most commonly used method of anesthesia in dentistry today. Amines are great alternatives to the ester drugs because they contain no preservatives, which almost completely removes the chance of an allergic reaction when used.
Symptoms of Severe Allergic Reaction
Allergic reactions occur on a scale of severity. At its most mild, a patient may experience minor itching. At its most severe, a patient could develop anaphylaxis, which restricts breathing and can lead to death if timely medical treatment is not administered. Fortunately, anaphylaxis is rare and most reactions are mild. However, experts recommended visiting an allergist prior any kind of surgery to determine whether you have any allergies to common anesthetics.
Benedryl as an Anesthetic
If you have allergies related to the admine anesthetics, several substitute alternatives are available. Benedryl, a common antihistamine, can be administered as an alternative. The surgeon simply dilutes it to achieve proper anesthesia for oral surgery. The only negative is a potential burning sensation at the injection site.
Fortunately, thanks to the invention of admine anesthetics, allergic reactions are much rarer than with the ester class of drugs. As with any surgery, make sure to discuss your concerns and explore alternative options with your health care provider. While most allergic reactions are mild and non-life threatening, knowing your sensitivities is always important for your overall health. If you live in the Salt Lake City area, contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah for all your oral care, ranging from routine checkups to oral surgery.