What is Local Anesthesia?
Topical anesthetics are applied to mouth tissues with a swab to prevent pain on the surface level. Your dentist may use a topical anesthetic to numb an area in preparation for administering an injectable local anesthetic. Topical anesthetics also may be used to soothe painful mouth sores.
Injectable local anesthetics, such as Novocain, prevent pain in a specific area of your mouth during treatment by numbing mouth tissues. This blocks the nerves that sense or transmit pain. Such substances cause temporary numbness, often referred to as a “fat lip.” Injectable anesthetics may be used in such procedures as filling cavities, preparing teeth for crowns, or treating gum disease.