Let’s Get Technical
"Dental nerve blocks" is the technical term for dental anesthesia. The most commonly used anesthesia in dentistry is novocaine.
Dental nerve blocks are an exact science. General dentists and dental specialists go through years of study to become licensed, and there are few professionals more thoroughly trained in administering the dental nerve block or numbing the face.
The most common dental nerve block is the inferior alveolar nerve block. This type of block numbs the lower jaw during dental treatment and enables patients to lose sensation temporarily in their teeth.
There are many specific blocks dentists use, depending on the area to be treated. Each block, or shot, numbs a target area. For example, the lower lip and chin is numbed by the mental nerve block; the tongue is numbed by the lingual nerve block.
Your dentist is proficient in administering dental nerve blocks. He or she is highly trained and most people have no problems getting numb. But in certain instances, problems arise when delivering dental nerve blocks.
When Blocks Get Blocked
Anatomical -- A bodily problem that limits your dentist's access to the nerve needing to be numbed.
Pathological -- Infection, inflammation or other medical reason can make nerve blocking a challenge to your dentist.
Pharmacological -- If the patient is a chronic alcoholic or drug abuser, getting numb can prove to be impossible.
Psychological -- Fear, dental anxiety or extreme dental phobia can hamper the body's ability to become numb for dental procedures.
Poor Technique -- A dentist can sometimes misaim; since dentists are extensively trained, this is a very rare occurrence.