Nerve blocks are an essential component of a high-quality dentistry service in small-animal practice and contribute extensively to maximizing the safety of the anesthetic event.
Just like in humans, local anesthesia is very beneficial when it comes to managing pain during dental treatments for dogs and cats. Pain resulting from oral surgery will decrease your animal’s interest in food and can cause unwanted stress in postoperative care.
Local anesthetics are incredibly effective, inexpensive and easy to use. They work by preventing pain impulses from reaching the central nervous system. This will help reduce the doses of general anesthetic used during the dental procedure. They are used to block individual teeth or a specific nerve pathway to completely desensitize an anatomical area.
Examples of local anesthetic drugs are: lidocaine and bupivacaine and some of the most common regional blocks are described below.
Caudal mandibular (inferior alveolar): injecting around the caudal foramen, that is located in the jaw will effectively anesthetize inferior alveolar nerve, affecting bone, dental and soft tissues on the same side, cranial (towards the nose) to the injection site.
Maxillary or infra-orbital block: the infra-orbital foramen is a structure that is located around the 4th premolar on the upper dental arcade, and injecting an anesthetic in this area will anesthetize the buccal aspect (the outside) of the upper dental arcade.
Local blocks are and should be used routinely to promote comfort to your pet. Header image placement of a needle for an infra-orbital block on a canine.
Written by: Natalia, RVT