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Who IS the Father of Dental Anesthesia?

It’s often hard to determine who exactly gets the honor of being called the “father” of modern day local dental anesthesia because so many different individuals were working on methods around the same time. Horace Wells, DDS saw the effects of nitrous oxide or laughing gas in December of 1844 during a traveling circus show. Later that night he used it on himself while a fellow dentist extracted a wisdom tooth. He reported it was a painless process, though in some later extractions, other patients didn’t achieve the same pain free results.

Then on September 30, 1846, William Thomas Green Morton administered ether before extracting a tooth and the patient reported he felt no pain during the procedure. Morton quickly went on to patent ether under the name of letheon but it was soon discovered letheon was really ether and a Harvard chemistry professor, Dr. Charles T. Jackson had originally created the formula.

Today dentists have a wide range of anesthesia choices. Dr. Ellis mainly uses Lidocaine and Septocaine with Polocaine reserved for certain patients who for a variety of reasons don’t respond well to the other two options.

Benzocaine is a local anesthetic which works by blocking nerve signals in the body. This topical anesthetic is usually used before an oral injection is given. Then Septocaine is an injectable anesthesia given during both minor and complex dental procedures. This is also the anesthesia which causes you to drool, makes it difficult if not impossible to eat or drink and even can cause slurred speech until the effects wear off. If you’ve ever had a tooth filled, you’ve probably experienced these generally harmless but annoying side effects.

Here at Ellis Dental, we are focused on your comfort and well being. If you ever have any questions or concerns when it comes to your dental care, please don’t hesitate to discuss them with us at any time before, during or after the procedure. We want to make sure you are completely satisfied with the level of care you receive from every member of our staff.