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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Is my resistance to novocaine related to the hypermobility of my jaw?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (23275 points ) July 21st, 2011

I was diagnosed with hypermobility in my jaw about 10 years ago. I was supposed to have it surgically repaired, as it is apparently relatively severe, but my insurance ran out before I was able to do so.
Today I went to the dentist to have a tooth fixed, and the novocaine did nothing. My dentist said that it may be related to my sloppy jaw. I did some Googling, but this phenomenon seems to only be related to people with Ehler-Danlos syndrome, which I have no reason to believe that I have.

Can this phenomenon be exclusive to local anesthetic being ineffective in the jaw area, since that is the only loose joint that I’m aware of? My face and lips go numb, but my jaw and teeth do not.

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13 Answers

Afos22's avatar

The dentist may not have administered enough of the drug.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It’s been years since I’ve had a Novocaine shot, but I vividly remember that I still feel the pain in my jaw when the dentist was prying the wisdom teeth out, even after a second shot. Last year, I went to a new dentist, and the hygienist used a Novocaine-type spray through a contraption that looked sort of like a Water-Pik. That worked like a charm.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Novocaine works inconsistenly for me and I don’t have a loose jaw. That kind of thing just affects people differently and I can still feel some pain even if they give me the largest allowable dose. Sorry about that, that’s why I hate the dentist. Also, my partner has a loose jawbone and novocaine works fine for him.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Just curious. It sounded so off the wall to me, I had to ask. :)

Lightlyseared's avatar

Most likely is the dentist missed. Lidocaine (novocaine is so last century) needs to be injected near the nerve to be most effective. However people aren’t all put together the same way and it’s not uncommon for nerves to have been layed down in a different ways to the whrere they are in most people. If the nerve isn’t where the lidicaine is injected it’s not going to work well. This is why the dentist will check to see of it’s effective and if not try another location.

It’s also possible to have a genetic based insensitivity to lidocaine but if you’ve been to the dentist before I’d assume you’d know about that by now.

snowberry's avatar

You’re not the only person who’s immune to Novocaine. I have several daughters who are also, although each as her own symptoms. One had no relief for pain until the dentist had progressed to the point where he could squirt Novocaine right down the root of the tooth (OUCH)! I know other people for whom pain relief simply does not work. At all. Ouch again.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Lightlyseared right. It never works properly for me. Never has. Maybe it is just that simple. I didn’t realize it was this common. I always get the nasty feeling numb face and lips, but the inside of my mouth is virtually unaffected.

In all fairness to my dentist, he did offer additional shots, but at that point I just wanted to get it over with. He also did a beautiful job.. so I’m not complaining about his competency. Just to clarify.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf you could always ask them to try something else next time. There are several local anaesthetics that are commonly used in dentistry and one of those might be more effective.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Lightlyseared I was actually looking into that today. This is the only cavity I’ve ever had, so I was pretty mortified by the experience. Thanks, I will definitely do that.

creative1's avatar

A friend of mine needs triple the dose in order for novacaine to work, I am thinking it could because they didn’t give you a strong enough dose. Everyone has different reactions so medications.

zenvelo's avatar

If you have this problem again, tell the dentist and then ask for laughing gas.

I have always needed a lot of novacaine. One dentist speculated it was because I am a recovering alcoholic. Alcoholics and heavy drinkers with a high tolerance for alcohol often need a lot more novacaine.

jerv's avatar

I don’t have a hyper-mobile jaw, yet I am highly resistant to anesthesia, especially novacaine. Most of my fillings, I would up getting without anesthesia as the drill hurt less than the useless needle. Fortunately,, lidocaine works moderately well; I can get by with a mere double-dose of it and it won’t wear of in under 15 minutes like a hose-dose of Novacaine does.

It may just be a thing about your particular body; something unrelated to your jaw.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Could be.

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