I had two dentist appointments this past week. It was for teeth cleaning. Because of my everyday dizziness, I kept putting it off (and off and off…).
I finally made the appointment and it was agreed that the cleaning would be split up into two appointments and that they would use freezing to make it easier on me and on them.
Sounds good so far.
I go to my first appointment and the other dentist in the practice puts the freezing in my mouth and goes away. And then, my heart started racing and I was very jittery for a few minutes afterwards. It felt a lot longer because we were waiting for the freezing to take affect. I had that happen to me once before and wondered if it might be the freezing but it was faint and lasted for only a few seconds so I thought it could easily be nerves. I also have a heart that likes to skip beats but have worn holter monitors and have been told everything is fine.
The reason for the heart racing and jitters is because of the epinephrine that is part of the freezing dentists use. Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is used because it constricts the blood vessels near your tooth, allowing the dentist to work longer and only allows a small amount of the local anesthetic to enter your body.
For my second appointment, we used a different freezing solution without epinephrine and not one problem. No jitters or nervousness and no racing heart which meant no anxiety. The only problem I may have had was the numbness going away sooner than normal because of using a different type of freezing solution. If that happened, my dentist would have given me more freezing to get through the rest of the appointment.
I didn’t need to have more. My appointment was delayed by about 45 minutes because the fire alarm went off when I was being given the freezing. I was just starting to feel things again but I was almost done so didn’t bother getting more.
I don’t think I’ve suddenly become allergic to it because, except for the one instance from a couple of years ago, it’s never bothered me. But, there was more freezing used because the whole top half of my mouth was frozen. My dentist said that shouldn’t be why I had the racing heart and jitters but it wasn’t him that gave me the freezing the first time, it was the other dentist at the practice so I don’t know.
When you’re having half of your mouth frozen, it’s a lot of novacaine. My dentist is also very good at using only enough freezing necessary and it’s usually gone about an hour after the appointment. My mouth stayed numb for about 5 hours afterwards. It’s also possible that the needle entered a small blood vessel and some of the epinephrine entered the blood stream which would also produce an increased heart rate so, again, I don’t know.
If you have had this problem or have a pre-existing health problem, talk with your dentist. Here’s a link to an article called Can Dental Anesthetic Really Make Your Heart Beat Faster? that you can take with you to your next dental visit if this is something that concerns you.