A dental block refers to intraoral injections of anesthetic, such as lidocaine, that is often used by dentists for dental procedures. They have been most commonly used for patients receiving lip injections to help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort associated with those treatments.
One of the main reasons why dental blocks are not used anymore is that many fillers now contain lidocaine in the injection. For example, Juvéderm Ultra XC and Restylane® Lyft with Lidocaine contain the numbing agent within the product. This was a game changer for the industry. Now, a topical anesthetic before the injection combined with the lidocaine in the injection will help minimize the discomfort for patients.
There are a number of benefits of having the lidocaine within the injectable product and not using a dental block:
- The dental block can be more painful than the actual injections. You still have to have an injection with the dental block and it can be just as painful, if not more painful than injecting the actual product.
- Using a dental block makes the treatment more expensive. It’s an added expense to have a dental block because it is an additional product and additional procedure time..
- A dental block can cause additional swelling or distortion of the area which can make it difficult to determine the endpoint of treatment.
- They cause numbness of the lip and lip dysfunction for hours after the procedure which can be unsatisfactory for many patients.
- Using products that contain lidocaine can cause less bruising and swelling following the treatment.
Overall, decreasing the use of dental blocks has been shown to increase customer and physician satisfaction. There are still instances where a dental block may be used. When you are injecting a patient with a filler that does not contain lidocaine, it may be beneficial to use a dental block to minimize discomfort. If you have a patient who is very nervous about the procedure and the pain, then a dental block might be worth discussing. It all depends on your patient and their preferences.