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Why Dental Anesthetic Makes Your Heart Beat Faster

You may have noticed that when you get a dental injection, sometimes your heart feels like it's going to beat right out of your chest.  You've probably just assumed that your heart is beating so hard because you're nervous.

That's partly true, but there's another reason — the dental anesthetic actually contains something that makes your heart beat faster!

Why Your Heart Beats Faster When You Get a Dental Injection

Dental InjectionAs I mentioned above, nervousness may play a role in making your heart beat faster when you get a dental injection.  When we get nervous, our heart beats faster because our body sends out a substance called adrenaline that increases our blood pressure and causes our heart to race.

Most of the local anesthetics used in dentistry in the United States contain epinephrine (also known as adrenaline.)  Not only is your body causing your heart to speed up by releasing adrenaline, your dentist is giving you adrenaline in the local anesthetic!

Don't worry, dentists don't want you to have a double-dose of adrenaline to make you nervous.  Local anesthetics contain epinephrine for another reason: The epinephrine constricts your blood vessels.

With your blood vessels constricted, the local anesthetic stays near your tooth for a long time.  That way, it gives your dentist a lot of time to work on your tooth without you feeling it.  Another reason that dentists want your blood vessels constricted is so that only a small amount of local anesthetic gets absorbed into your body.

Conclusion

You may have felt your heart pounding more during some dental injections more than others.  If the dentist happens to inject the local anesthetic into a small blood vessel, it can quickly travel to your heart and cause it to beat very hard and fast.  This generally subsides after 10 seconds or so and is not dangerous to you.  Most of the time, the local anesthetic is not injected directly into a vessel and stays right near the nerve without affecting the heart.

Have you ever felt your heart race when getting a dental local anesthetic injection?  I'd love to hear your comments and questions in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Update 2/25/13 - I wrote a new post about why dental anesthetic makes your heart beat faster, with more science to back it up after some comments below made me question whether or not this can really happen. You can read it here: Can Dental Anesthetic Really Make Your Heart Beat Faster?


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  1. I had an injection at the Dentist and my mouth didn't go numb at all but my heart went so fast I thought I was going to have a heart attack.I didn't say anything to the Dentist, other than the injection hadn't worked .He gave me another injection which worked fine and didn't effect my heart. I was too embarassed to say about my racing heart,because although I've never experienced a panic attack I wondered if I was having one.Now having read this I realised he must've injected a blood vessel.

    • Thanks for sharing you're experience, Marie - It sounds like that's what happened.

    • Looking at the postings above, specifically the statement "The epinephrine constricts your blood vessels" - this may somewhat explain what I experienced when I had such injections (one on the right and one on the left side) a few weeks ago. After a procedure that took almost 4 hrs. I was not able to pass Urine for almost 2 hrs afterwards. Had to go to ER where they put in a Catheter to empty my bladder, and I had to keep it on dor 5 days before the Urologist approved to take it off. I prefer the old Anesthetics that Numbed the gum and the lips and so forth .. had no side effect from those. One thing worth mentioning is that the urologoist said that such anesthetics cause enlargment of the Soft tissue, which is why my prostate was enlarged - thus no able to pass urine. What an awful feeling it was.

      • I didn't connect it at first, because I thought this only happened to men, but for the rest of the week I couldn't pass urine easily either. As well as all the symptoms of panic attack at the time, I had to sit in the waiting room for an hour while my heart thumped and I felt too woozy to walk..(.everything was swimming)...let alone drive. My face was like a beetroot when I looked in the mirror. Clearly my blood pressure was really high. I felt 'strange' for at least 2 days. I continued to have free-floating anxiety and experienced depression for a few weeks afterwards. I had not had this for several years, despite the death of my husband and 2 house-moves!

        WHY do they continue to use this anaesthetic??????

    • Thanks for sharing Marie. I had the same thing happen to me today and also thought I might be having a panic attack, even though I had never had one before. I didn't say anything and I was ok a few minutes after he finished but at the time it was very scary.

      • Yes! This happened to me twice this month when I visited the dentist. The first time I thought it was just anxiety and a little Novocain side effect but today was really bad. I actually told the dentist about my anxiety, heart racing, and sweating all over my body. This only lasted a minute or two. But it was very very scary! And I'm an ICU nurse.lol. The dentist said it went into my bloodstream. Just like all of you I thought I was having a panic attack, and I hope it never happens again

  2. Thanks for the interesting information! I have just gone through the same experience yesterday before undergoing a root canal treatment. As soon as the dentist gave me the injection I almost felt like fainting and also experienced palpitations. At first I also thought that this was maybe because I was tensed but then the dentist explained what you have stated in your article and said that statistically speaking, this generally happens to about 1 patient in every 25. Having experienced this for the first time, I am however wondering and rather concerned whether it was the dentist's fault for perhaps not being careful in administering the anesthetic, or whether this truly commonly happens to patients ...

    • Hi Stephanie - Most dentists pull back before injecting the anesthetic. If we see blood in the cartridge, that means we're in a blood vessel and we move around a little until we can confirm that we're not injecting into a blood vessel.

      Sometimes we may pull back and not see blood, and then when we inject the anesthetic, the needle moves slightly and goes into a blood vessel. It usually doesn't happen. In all honesty though, I have seen dentists that don't pull back before injecting, and for these dentists, it is much more likely that they will inject the anesthetic into your bloodstream and get your heart beating fast!

      I hope that helps, Stephanie - Thanks for your comment! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  3. This never used to happen to me before but recently it happened each time I had to have dental work done. It had been many years since I had been to the dentist because of truly traumatic experiences. Late last year I decided to just get it over with as I knew I needed some major work done. Since it had been some years and I'm older now I thought I was having a panic attack and was empbarassed but I told my dentist that my heart was racing. The frst time he just explained to me that sometimes that happens and that it will go away shortly, and it did. But he didn't explain to me why it happened, so thank you for your explaination it really helped and now I finally understand what happens.

  4. This very same thing happened to me just yesterday...never before happened to me and I have had never been afraid of dental work and have had a lot done in years gone by. I am in my early 70's. My heart raced so hard and fast it felt awful. This was my first visit to this dentist...I really like him and he is well recommended. This was work done on molar 30 ...also the deadening wore off too soon.

    It was work done for a crown...I am hoping I won't need anything for doing the fitting of the permanent crown. At my age I am afraid of actual damage to my heart.

    After 5 hours my pulse was still 88 and is usual at 70-72. I ran sprints at age 59 and never had my heart raced like yesterday.

  5. I'm going in tomorrow for some extensive dental work. 2 crowns and 3 fillings on the bottom and impressions for the crowns and latter removal of 7 top teeth for a full denture.
    I'm already experiencing panic and don't go in until 11:00 tomorrow. :(
    Impressions make me gag due to going into Anaphylaxis several years ago, with everything shutting down, including the breathing. Now if I have trouble breathing I panic big time and relive the experience all over again.
    The anesthesia causes me heart to race, which doesn't help with the panic, making it worse.
    I'm also dreading the temp dentures being put in immediately after the extractions, due to the swelling causing breathing difficulty.
    Don't you feel sorry for my poor dentist? :)
    Wish me luck. I'm gonna need it.
    Also, is there a pain medication that doesn't cause the heart to race and has fewer side effects than others?

    • Hi Becky - I got to you a day late, but I hope everything went well. Was it as bad as you thought? You could ask for a local anesthetic without epinephrine (usually called mepivacaine or Carbocaine), which wouldn't cause your heart to beat faster.

  6. Hi,
    This has happened to me, my filling had come loose in my molar tooth. I ended up calling an emergency dentist, when i was sat in the chair they said that I was to have the tooth pulled, they gave me an injection , two doses at once, a few miniutes later my whole body was shaking , I couldn't control it , my heart was pounding in my ears , I was so scared, the dentist told me this is perfectly normal and handed me a drink of glucose, I couldn't even hold the cup I was shaking that much.my mouth hadn't even gone numb, she came with another injection , but there was no way I was having a third one, I couldn't even concentrate my mind was swirling and my body was in a fit like state, I thought I was going to die.my jaw was so sore days after and I still had my tooth , I'm sure to ask next time I go to the dentist what there injecting , because there is no way I ever want that experience again !!!

    • Oh thank goodness, now I don't feel so crazy. This just happened to me for the first time today too. Could barely lift the little paper cup to my lips I was trembling so much. And my abs started to, well, vibrate! I had to walk around the room a bit and do breathing exercises to get my head back in the game. It was a very disconcerting experience. The procedure was 9 hours ago, and the soft tissue in my mouth is still a bit numb, and I couldn't swallow properly for a good 3-4 hours.

  7. The Same thing happens to me every time and it drives me nuts! I have no needle phobia and I have been injected many times before. The first time it happened was about 8 years ago, it was so strange because it had never happened to me before. I was injected in the gums and everything was fine but a few seconds after the dentist walked away I felt dizzy and started to sweat and I even passed out completely for a moment. Well I actually just got back from the dentist about 20 minutes ago and decided to look online to find out what exactly is wrong with me. I am very relieved to see that I am not the only one that has experienced this, I actually found several blogs and even a forum discussing it. Anyway I went in today because I thought one of my fillings came loose because the air as well as cold drinks were really bothering it. It turns out that there was a cavity between the two teeth that ran under my old filling and the dentist said that I will need a root canal. Before I could digest that information he whipped out a big ole needle and proceeded to inject my gums around the tooth. He stood up and said, "lets just give that a few minutes," and he walked away. Sure enough a few seconds later I got that light headed dizzy feeling and began to sweat, fortunately I was in a laying down position in the dental chair and I did not pass out. However my hands felt like two balloons and I could feel my feet throb. For some odd reason I just decided to just go-with-it and in a few minutes it passed and I felt much better. My mouth is still numb as I type, but I can feel it is slowly starting to wear off. What really sucks is that I have to go through it all over again 5 days from now for part 2 of this root canal.

  8. Today was the first time I've ever had a reaction to the anesthetic. I'm 58 and have had my share of dental work over the years. Once, many years ago, my dentist had to give me multiple injections (way more than normal, he said) to numb things but I did not have a reaction. Today the first injection wasn't successful, so I received a another one. I felt my heart race for about 10 seconds after the second injection and I got the chills. The dental assistant brought me a blanket and I slowly warmed up. Thanks for posting the information about this. It was very helpful.

  9. My mom had 2 implant yesterday, she said that she felt her heart beating so fast when they gave her the injection, I know that this is an expected side effect of the medication they give but the problem is that her heart rate is not getting slower and its been like 105-115 for almost 2 days already, her heart rate usually is fast arround 87, but I am concerned regarding her heart rate that it can't get slow. She is taking valerian tablets but it wasn't helping her so she callled the doctor and he said to take persen forte tablets. By the way this is happening in my country not in US, but they use same medications as US for local anesthetic injections I think. Please help me what can it be? I am very nervous and concerned about her. Thank you

  10. It is better for us to do the surgery in Armenia because it needs to be done as soon as possible. We have sent all the information about the hospital in the papers that we filled out. We talked with Juan and he said that because sometimes hospitals want to get paid and then do the surgery it may take some time, and if the surgery needs to be done immediately we have the option to pay and do the surgery, and after that you will reimburse us. I prefer this option because the surgery needs to be done as soon as possible. What papers will you need? What is the next step? Thank you very much.

  11. Sorry guys, wrong comment!

  12. all these comments are making me feel so much better about what i experienced the other day i do nomally have anxioty, i was getting a temp. filling bfore ineeded a root canal, i was nervous but i didnt want to take the valum the first injection i thought i was going to be okay, the she went over to the roof of my mouth starting injecting and it hurt s bad it felt like a hard baseball was placed in my mouth... after that my heart started racing, i was dripping sweat i wasnt sure if i was havng a panic attack or what.. now i know it was the numbing medicine. i have to go back and get a couple more fillings but i feel better reading everything on your website! i just wanna get it over with!!!!

    • I am so glad I found this but I am not happy about my situation!
      I had a root canal done about a year ago and had the rapid heart rate and dizziness.
      I now must have this same tooth extracted. I went today and the rapid heart beat, sweats, dizziness and shakes came back! It was awful. Worst part they never got the tooth numb so I have to go back!
      My question is : Is it possible with the alternative medication that they can administer again if it wears off? So if the procedure takes 2 hours and the medicine wears off can they give you more?
      I don't ever want that feeling again!
      Awful!

  13. Today the dentist had to give me a shot for a filling, and as soon as he started injecting me I started shaking really bad and my heart was racing and he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to go anywhere, and I was like "WHAT." And he told me he gave me a different shot this time, it had adrenaline in it, and I was pretty scared. I think he started working before the shots settled in because I felt everything. But for the rest of the day I couldn't feel a thing. Until now and my mouth is incredibly sore. Maybe my dentist just sucks.

  14. Hello I just was at the dentist today because my wisdom tooth was killing me the dentist asked if she could extract it i said okay and they got to working on it she put 4 or 5 shots of the numbness I'm than she waited next to me asking if I felt numb yet i said yes my whole lip was numb I felt slobbering everywhere than about 1 minute after injection my heart started racing so fast I was like maam my hearts beating fast she said it happens and ill be fine she told me to take deep breaths and slowly breath through my nice than they started working on my tooth so eventually i stopped thinking about my heart and was concentrating on what they were doing I still felt a lot a lot of presure but it didn't hurt to where I said ouch!! Anyways your information was a lot helpful thank you

  15. hello tom i went to the dentist today and I have no idea what the doctor injected on my mouth, I was scared, traumatized, my heart was beating fast, i think i passed out, it was a very scary experience, it was so serious that the doctor didnot even perform the wisdom removal and he was about to call an ambulance i am wondering if there is a way that i can sew him ? what do you think, please let me know asap thanks

  16. it happened to me just yesterday and when I asked my dentist why that was happening he said it was psychological. I just had to investigate it a bit because I don't get scared that easily. Very informative and helpful. Thank you.

    • Oh thank goodness, now I don't feel so crazy. This just happened to me for the first time today too. Could barely lift the little paper cup to my lips I was trembling so much. And my abs started to, well, vibrate! I had to walk around the room a bit and do breathing exercises to get my head back in the game. It was a very disconcerting experience. The procedure was 9 hours ago, and the soft tissue in my mouth is still a bit numb, and I couldn't swallow properly for a good 3-4 hours.

  17. I have had that feeling every time I've gone to the dentist, and at first I sort of hated it, but now I kinda like it. It is an interesting feeling, but I definitely would not want to feel that all of the time like some people with Cardiac dysrhythmia.

  18. I think when Drs don't have any answers they call everything a panic attack! Just watch Mystery Diagnosis! If there is one thing I know it's a generic word thrown out there when you don't know what is actually happening. I know that I have gone to at least five appointments for one root canal have had a temp for eight weeks now in my mouth which is pissing me off to no end. My last part of the actual root canal was today I wasn't nervous and was expecting my permanent crown as my dentist said three weeks ago that this appointment was for that NOT so instead I was injected with an anestetic and thus more drilling on the same tooth while it was happening my heart raced my stomach was burning and my teeth uncontrollably chattered. I think since I wasn't nervous and had almost every procedure done in my mouth it was caused by the anesesthia. I don't think it's fair to lable all these people with panic attacks when it's clear it's the drug! To find out Root Canals may not be the solution permanently I wished I had it extracted as this is testing me seriously. One tooth since Jan 18 to March 16th. Sometimes I rather have no teeth than to deal with this!

  19. Hi all

    So glad I found this site. I have been to the dentist today and the same thing happened to me. I had the injection and immediately my heart started pounding and my ears went fuzzy, I couldn't hear the radio that was playing in the background and felt very dizzy. The dentist kept me lying down and calm. He asked was I nervous before coming in, I said yes. He asked had I eaten, I said no as I had come straight from work. This all contributed towards my reaction. He gave me a glucose tablet and I felt much better.

    It was sooooo scary really thought I was going to pass out. Was worried there would be no-one to pick up the kids from school. I now have a headache down one side of my head. Was thinking that I was going to the "dentist from hell" hahaha, have to go back in two weeks and am NOT looking forward to it.

    • I sympathise with you Judi, I felt exactly the same as you. Very unwell honestly felt like I was going to pass out. My Dentist explained that there was another type of injection and I would be given this from now. Ask you dentist about this Judi, I definitely feel spot on when I get that injection and not the adrenaline. X

    • Oh Judi I know exactly how you feel! I am not looking forward to my appt. either.

    • I am so pleased I am not the only one here. I am a big bloke yet I went to the dentist yesterday and I was given an injection. My heart started to race and I felt very ill. The dentist did not listen to me and proceed to extract my molar. She broke the tooth in half and said she could not do it.

      She called to next room for her husband he came in and shook my head around and he could not get the tooth out. I had had enough my mouth was bleeding and I told them I felt very ill. I walked out even though they tried to keep me there I did not feel that they knew what the hell they were doing.

      I got to a private dentist down road as an emergency they took tooth out in one hour NO PROBLEM's apart from it was well stuck in my gum. I was charged £90 but it was worth ever penny. I will never go back to that dentist ever again. I have have had other minor issues with them but this was the last straw.

      I will be glad when I have all dentures in the top as my father in law has no problems and he had all his teeth out when he was twenty.

      Andy

  20. I too has this injection with adrenaline. It made me feel very unwell. The colour drained from my face and I thought I was going to pass out, my heart was racing like I've never felt it before and just felt really ill for hours afterwords. I now don't have the injection containing the adrenaline. Does this mean I have an alergy to the adrenaline given? I'd spoken to my GP about it and he said I should wear a medical tag however the Dentist said not to. What do I do?

    I understand that the GP said that even the small amount given by the Dentist made me feel this way so imagine what a larger dose might do. The Dentist asked if I would need the adrenaline for a bee sting etc and I said I didn't know because I'd never been stung and she just said she wouldn't bother saying I had an alergy!

    What will I do?

  21. I had that experience at the dentist. He was having trouble getting me numb and it took several shots. All of a sudden my heart started pounding and I just felt strange and I stopped him and he asked if I was ok. He told me what had happend but it kind of scared me and since then I have been afraid to go back. I had one dentist tell me that he didn't aspirate and that's why it happened and she assured me that it would never happen at her office. I need to have some work done now and I'm going on Monday but very nervous about it.

    • It's definitely scary Laurie! I know how you feel. Ask your dentist for the injection that doesn't contain adrenaline. I know it works for me every time now and I feel fine. Good luck on Monday x

  22. I had same such experience yesterday! I have had many prior dentist visits; however, yesterday I went to a dental school to save some money. (so much for thrift!) But to add to this near death feeling, my body uncontrollably shook, can someone please exain this to me??? The procedure was not completed as my bloodsugar had risen to 291! So I went through all this experience for nothing.

  23. Going to the dentist soon. Had a very bad reaction from a dentist in Washington State - my heart was beating very fast - much faster than normal, he told me to leave and to never come back again! I learned later from another dentist that patients can die from this rapid heart beat, if it's administrated wrongfully. I've had dental work all of my life - unfortunately, from an impoverished, uneducated family. I'd like to finally get implants or false teeth someday, because I really hate the rapid heart beat. I noticed that novacain never gave me this rapid heart beat - but took a long time to get me number. Seems I get a worse reaction to lidocaine. The doctor said lidocaine is the same drug that's put into crack/cocaine. The last dentist that I went to - he took my blood pressure was normal when I came in and when I left, it was 140 - which is very high for me. I've been self administering baby aspirin 3x week because I've gained so much weight over the years - since my husband died of cancer in 2009, he was diagnosed in 2006 - so, it's been a long haul for me. I have to go see a dentist - but, will be going to see my doctor first - don't want to die of a heart attack at the dentist! When I told the last dentist that I wanted him to use novacaine and not lidocaine - he used lidocaine anyway! I don't appreciate doctor's who go against specific instructions. I don't know of any alternatives. Tried laughing gas once and was funny - but the nurse that was giving me the gas, kept letting it accumulate & was giving me bursts of the gas, rather than let the gas flow through the tube freely. I'd like to find a dentist with experience and who I can trust and who will respect my wishes.

    • Another thing - the last doctor I went to - when i told him i did not want lidocaine and he gave it to me anyway. He told me I had high blood pressure and to go see a doctor, that's why my heart was beating so fast @ 140 when I left the dentist. Will never go back to that dentist ever again.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Christine. A good alternative would be to ask for "Carbocaine without epinephrine." That shouldn't make your heart beat faster from the anesthetic (although it may beat faster due to nervousness!)

      I am sorry that the dentist didn't respect your wishes. Good luck with your future dental work and finding a dentist you can trust!

      • Epinephrine - I've been calling it Lidocaine in error. Yes, I told the last dentist that I did not want epinephrine and she gives me carbocaine (I guess, not sure of the name). This was worse, she had to pull a tooth out. She explained later after she pulled the tooth, that the medicine she gave me numbed the gums, but it doesn't stay numb for long. She literally tortured me, because after the numbness wore off, she was still extracting the tooth and I was feeling every bit of pain. It was a horrible nightmare. I was hanging on to the side of my chair and telling her to stop - she just kept telling me that she was almost done, just hang on. She wouldn't administer anymore pain medication. I really hate dentistry, seems to be one bad incident after another.

        • I went to a dentist that said my fillings were bad. I had no idea he was redoing what a cosmetic dentist did a few months prior-that hadn't bothered me-until he was finished. He injected me. And I started getting very bad palpitations in my chest and stomach. I had taken benadryl that morning(over 5 hours prior-for regular allergies). They didn't stop, and then put more in the other side. I am so afraid tonight, because I do not know it is out of my system or that I am ok. I have Ulcerative Colitis, and numerous other health issues. One side of my mouth blew up for a few hours. I am not sure exactly what the dentist did-However, he when the nurse said I can eat in an hour. He said NOT to eat on that side for 24 hours. I found out from 2 other patients-who switched-he had removed their fillings as well. And they had to switch to a neighboring dentist. I am supposed to get an extraction of a broken tooth by an oral surgeon-the office wasn't clear if it was him. So I didn't make the appointment. On a previous visit he said he had to fill cavities, that my cosmetic dentist hadn't found. Then, I went back for the rest of the alleged cavities-and he almost re-numbed to fill the teeth, he previously had filled. I only went back, because the cosmetic dentist's filling in the broken tooth was not staying in. I am wondering if I am in danger because of the reaction.

  24. Hello, I have felt that for years and figured it was normal so never mentioned it. I started asking some friends who have never experienced it. My dentist said only some people experience the rapid heartbeat. He told me the alternative ananesthetic can be used, however it wears off quicker. I had 2 hoours of work done on my teeth today and started shaking at the end. It was very cold in the office so I don't know if that contributed to it. They gave me a blanket and once I warmed up it went away. Anyway, thought I would tell you my experience. Cheers !

  25. I went to get my bottom molar out today and as soon as the LA went in, my heart was jumping out of my chest. i was surprised, i didn't think i was 'that' nervous. i told my oral surgeon and he said its the adrenaline in the LA, completely normal. he does extractions all the time being an oral surgeon so he knew why and wasn't worried.

  26. Thanks for the information. I had an injection before work was done on a cavity on one of my lower right teeth. After the injection, my heart started pounding like mad. It is the next day and I still don't feel quite right. I hope it will get better soon.

  27. Thanks for the info. Glad to know I'm not the only one! After having anaesthetic to have an extraction, I passed out after having similar symptoms to those others have mentioned, dizziness, light headedness, quick breathing, fuzzy hearing and heavy limbs. I went for a second time a couple of days ago and the same thing happened. I've never had any bad experiences at dentists before, so now I know why I fainted. But the weirdest thing was that when I came round both times I was alert and wide awake straight away. At least I know how to prevent it if I need anaesthetic again and also that I'm not the only one this has happened to!

  28. I just go back from the dentist , OMG. ...never before happened to me and I have had never been afraid of dental work and have had a lot done in years gone by. I am in my early 50's. My heart raced so hard and fast it felt awful. My heart was jumping out of my chest...I began text my sister and my children thinking i was going to get a heart attack.. Bad anxiety attack.... Now im afraid to go back to the dentist..

  29. Hi Tom

    Unfortunately I have been cursed with bad teeth, I do my very best to take care of them brushing and flossing etc but every year at some point I end up needing a filling. I am very comfortable with my dentist; (we have been friends for over 20 years LOL) so comfortable in fact that I have even fallen asleep while getting a root canal done.

    Enough rambling..

    I am 43 years old and its only been the last couple of years that I have had that racing heart feeling after my dental needle. (Not bad but definitely enough to make you aware of it) I am wondering if it is just that I am getting "older" and more sensitive to it; or has there been a trend to change freezing medications in the last few years?

  30. I had the same problem many years ago, I also have a heart condition and was told I should have the injection without adrenalin. It has been years since I have been to the dentist because of fear so now I have major teeth problem, I have gotten the courage to return and so far all the dental work has gone good, but I'm concerned after reading that you said the adrenalin is in the injection so only a small amount gets into the body. Does that mean I'm getting too much absorbed in my body now, I have been attending the dentist every 2 weeks, will the injection build up in my body and be toxic, etc.

  31. Ive experienced this today. That I always feel dizzy and sick and palpitation happens to me often for some other health reasons, this experience wasn't new to me. As the dentist gave me an injection this morning, i felt like almost fainting and my heart pounded so fast.. I thought maybe Im allergic to that. Thanks for the information. Now I know that I dont have another illness or allergy to worry about.

  32. Try carbocaine. It's not perfect and I even get symptoms, with it. but better than most.

  33. Tom Tom 7 NEEDLES AT THE DENTIST!! - JUST GOT BACK
    wow ok everyone I had to have a record 7 needles for my lower block. The 7th one was my my lower lip but thats the only one that seemed to work. I was shacking and had the feeling that I just killed someone and the police were after me.

    This is the 2nd time this happened. I told them I don't do we with that kind of needle (always makes me shake) but I'll have to be more forceful next time.

    Before he gave me the last needle I was about to tell him I couldn't do another one.
    My mouth is so sore right now from getting stabbed.

    Good Luck in school btw. Around where are you going to open a practice?

    weblink for pictures of carpules!
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/108114579481161861142/albums/5607789194067700369/5754323526483313490?authkey=CO-Q4YTCmu-pIQ

  34. Same thing has just happened to me. Am still scared and feel dizzy now. Luckily I was laying down when my heart felt. Like it was going to come out of my chest. Never happened to me before. I too now have a pounding headache down one side.

  35. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I am more relief now that it seems normal with the fast heart beating. However, I was also shaking quite a bit.

    I have always had bad teeth, so I have had many needle in my mouth many times. It just started in my two prior session that my heart started beating quicker and that my hands and feet started shaking. Because my dentist gave me the needle and left me to wait 10min, so, I got up to get my iPad to pass some time. Then I realized I was very shaking and I could barely hold myself standing. When I got th iPad and started typing, I can see my hands shaking.

    I asked the dental assistant if they had changed the injection or not, but it wasn't a new one i havent used before. She said I could be having minor allergic reaction. The dentist told me it could be the epinephrine.

    By the time they finish work in my mouth, which is usually about 30min or so, it would all go away. So, I am not majorly concerned about it.

    • I am glad to read that the racing heart beat is a semi normal occurance! I went to the Dentist yesterday for just a couple fillings & after I received the injection I started feeling very shaky. My phone rang & when I was trying to answer it I noticed my hands were very shaky. When the Dentist & Assistance came back in the room, I mentioned it to them & they said that it was because of the epinephrine & that part of it probably got in my blood stream & that would cause the shakiness & rapid heart beating. He assured me it would go away within a few minutes & by the time I was about half way done, it had, thankfully! That was a very scary thing & I am a bit ashamed to say it scared me so badly I actually started crying a little! Glad to know it is ok that this happened, though I hope it never happens again!! I did end up numb still for at least 3 hours & today my jaw really hurts any time I open my mouth too far :(

  36. Thank you so much:) This was very interesting to learn. Recently I was given a shot before undergoing a root canal. The doctor left the room while he was waiting for it to take effect. It was during this time that my heart started to race and it felt like someone had put a heavy box on my ribs. My hand flew up to my chest and I was almost concerned enough to call out for help but the feeling subsided after what I think was a couple of minutes. I just tried to focus on the TV screen in the ceiling and calm down because I thought I was having a panic attack, even though I never thought of myself as being fearful of dentists.

  37. I have actual panic disorder for which I recieve disability for and SVT, a heart condition that causes rapid heartbeat. My panic attacks are usually triggered by the SVT. Two times previously I experienced the racing heartbeat, shakes, sweats, dizziness, etc after the numbing shots, but only when I got them on the bottom.. I just finished my 7th trip to the dentist this month and recieved numbing shots each time with no reaction so far. All of this work has been on the top though. Now I am scheduled for 2 more visits, both on the bottom, and I am scared to death! I spoke to my dentist about this and he told me that lots of people experience this and that it is usually only after recieving shots on the bottom. Hopefully it doesn't happen again this time on the bottom but I am not holding my breath! It is nice to know that, for once, my panic attacks are considered somewhat "normal," lol!

  38. Hi i just had a Root canal treatment done and i have noticed that when it was getting done the dentist used something along the electronics wise i dont know what it is but everytime he placed it near my tooth my heart was pounding very loud what was that instrument have been i am sure it was electronic cause it was beeping and he actually rested it on my mouth were he placed a holder i was wondering what it could be
    thanks

    • Hi Betul - The electronic instrument that your dentist was using is something that uses electrical current to measure the length of the canals in your tooth. We don't use them in patients with pacemakers in their hearts because it can interfere with the electrical conduction. My guess is that the anxiety of having it in your mouth is what caused your body to speed up your heart. I hope that helps - Thanks for your comment!

  39. Thanks for your explanation. I wish my dentist would have told me what happpened and why. I felt like a complete goof. After the injection and partway through having the rubber dam installed, I had a sudden panic attack. My heart was racing, I felt like I couldn't breath, I got very cold and very frightened. I sat straight up and ripped the rubber dam out of my mouth and started crying. The hygienist was taken aback to say the least and the dentist came over right away. He offered soothing words and a juice box and gave me time to calm down. I have never had a panic attack or fears of the dentist in the past. I didn't understand, but now I do. It was the epenephrine not a mental disorder :) Thanks.

  40. Very interested to read these comments. I had a block injection (lignospan) yesterday and suffered an absolutely terrifying reaction. I started shaking uncontrollably and felt as if I was going to pass out. The dentist elevated my legs and gave me oxygen but the 'fits' didn't stop for 1½ hours and in the end the dentist was so concerned she called an ambulance. It sounds so melodramatic but for the first time in my life I thought I was going to die. My pulse was quite low (about 70 beats per minute). I've been told it must be 'super-sensitivity' to the adrenalin in the block injection but I'm having a hard time knowing what to believe. Apparently I had the same injection in my upper jaw two years ago and was fine. I've never had any anxiety about the dentist until now and the only similar type of thing was an episode about 20 years ago when I had an extraction and felt as if I was going to pass out. I don't feel as if I can go back for much needed treatment until I know what's causing it for sure. The dentist seemed to think it was unusually severe reaction but has anyone else come across this?

    • I bet he hit a vein ......I got 7 needles once for a lower left block and all but the 7th went right into my bloodstream and my lower lip wasn't at all tingly. I thought I would burst if I had one more needle.

      The 7th one took right away and that one was by my lip as a last resort. The numbing effect on that last one vanished within 30 minutes....

  41. Tom people want to know where do you plan on practicing out of curiosity?

    • Hi Scooter - I just started working last month in the Shenandoah Valley area in Virginia. I'll be updating the site soon with information on where I practice - Life has been pretty hectic since graduation! Have a great day.

  42. Recently went to the dentist for a root canal, four days later I get out of hospital after suffering a mild heart attack, from the injection (any underlying pre=existing conditions have been ruled out) I have no fear of the dentist.... within seconds of the dentist starting to inject I lost all control of my right eye, couldnt open my eyelid, I couldnt swollow and had incredible tightnes around my chest, an ambulance was called and two and a half hours later I was in emergency, with elevated enzymes in my blood test, which proved the mild heart attack....I must admit I am rather anxious about going back....apparently he injected into a vein.......I would be interest to know if this could happen again and just how often this does happen

    • Holy Smokes.... how many needles did you get? When you get one in the vein, all sorts of crazy things can happen. Let us know how many. Do you remember a stinging in your tear duct?

  43. I had half of the injection, he stopped before the entire injection went in,very apprehensive about going for the root canal, I had a slight sting when the needle entered the skin, then an incredible hot feeling through my body, then my eye went, and my vision doubled and everything went down hill from there.

    • that happened to me once....my eye started stinging after the first injection...... not the nicest experience.
      I hope one day they figure out a way that we can totally stop using needles...

  44. I have just had a molar extracted and just after the injectiion my lip began to quiver, my stomach was full of butterflys, my legs (Thighs) felt like I had just run a marathon and my heart rate increased.

    This all settled within a few seconds.

    I had 6 injections to the site - dont know why but presume the first couple didnt take?

  45. Thanks for the explanation. I was concerned after my last visit.

    I had my bottom two wisdom teeth taken out a few days ago. Due to the impaction of both teeth I was given 6 shots of Lidocane on each side. (I don't think it was a full dose per shot). Within a few minutes of the shots my heart felt like it was beating so hard, not so much fast, but like it was going to drive through my chest. I also had a little difficulty breathing, like i just could not get enough oxygen even though I could tell I was taking full breaths. I've had lidocane before, just not to that extent, without any issue. After about 10 minutes it seemed to calm down and by the time they were working in my mouth I flet back to normal. And after about 30 minutes of work when they did the final stitch it was all wearing off.

  46. I have had this experience today for the first time. The Dentist explained it to me, which helped but it was still scary.
    I thought it was down to fear, as I'm a very nervous patient (after a horrific dental experience) and I chose today to go without being sedated like I usually would.
    I needed 4 procedures completing and opted to get them done all in one appointment (yey! brave me) 8 injections of anaesthetic later and 2 heart racing experiences, I made it out without having a panic attack, passing out or crying :) However, 6 hours later I'm still numb from my eyes to my chin and across to my ears. Hoping its gonna wear off soon. Thanks for sharing the stories and providing this info, very helpful.

  47. My coworker just had dental work done yesterday, the injection she was given caused her to have a heart attack. We are all very worried about her. I wonder if she may be able to file a malpractice suit. Thoughts?

    • this happens sometimes if they have a heart condition. Did she list it in the history?
      The Dr would really pay attention if its there.

  48. Thank you so much for posting this! I read it an hour before my dental appointment for a filling and got really worried as I sometimes have palpitations and end up almost having panic attacks. As a result, I asked my dentist for the anesthetic which doesn't have this side effect and my experience was actually ok. Thanks again. I was dreading going to have the work done and having my heart racing without know there is actually a reason behind it would have been really scary.
    Thanks!

  49. Hi i had a visit to the dentist today as one of my tooth's filling came out. I did not want a numbing injection as before i managed not to have it and got through it ok, but as the dentist wanted to numb it i went along with it.
    The first injection did not do much so she gave me another. I felt so ill and my heart was racing I thought i was having a panic attack and felt really peculiar, then i felt light headed and started shaking.and feeling sick and dizzy. The dentist gave me some sugar to take and said give it a while and you will feel better feel, but it took ages to work
    .I was aware of the adrenalin in the injection from past experience and always though it was my nervousness causing it as well as the dentist telling me it can often happen. I am on blood pressure tablets and they are 2.5milligram can that cause a problem with the injection... It really scared me today especially when the dentist told the nurse to get the emergency pack out!

    • This can be so scary, especially if you have reasons to worry about your heart. I think there should be clear warnings about this side effect. Since my post above, I have told quite a few people about this and at least 3 of them, one of them my own dad, said that they've experienced this and found it really scary. Once again, I am soooo glad I read this just before my visit to the dentist last week. As a result, I asked for the one that doesn't contain adrenaline and it worked very well.

      Caroline - my dentist said they use those for patients with high blood pressure and heart desease so I think your dentist should have offered this alternative, especially if you are on blood pressure tablets.

      • Thank you so much for the reply i will ask the dentist to do this, it clearly is something they should take very seriously as i felt ill all day after this. Also they are aware of me being on blood pressure tablets,and i did tell them from past experiences, that I have have felt very shaky when ive had this iinjection before, and as if i had ran a marathon as my heart was pounding, I think they thought me a little odd.

        I filled in my new patient information form, with all my medical history and before I commenced any treatment. This is a new dental practice on the NHS in Shropshire England, as I can not afford private care, so I do not know if they would allow me to have the injection which has no adrenalin in it but they should do it as there are many other people on heart medication and high blood
        pressure tablets.

        Thank you for all your help it is much appreciated.

        kind regards,
        Caroline

        • Caroline,
          Yes, mine is NHS too (although I paid a bit extra to have a white filling). It's a new dentist which I started seeing recently and she tried very hard to convince me it was completely safe. It was only when I mentioned that when I was younger I had a scan on my heart as I was getting palputations. They told me I had some cosmetic defect on my heart (valve taking a bit longer to close sometimes). This convinced her to let me have the other injection which worked really well and the treatment was completely painless.
          Jo

  50. Hi there I wondered what happening with me, this is the 2nd time this has happened to me.. I did teeth whitening strips strips time and ended up in A and E, I had major heart beat and thought I was going to pass out.. Had ECG was asked if I'd ever had mini heart attack? 2nd time I got my dentist to give me teeth whitening kit, did it yesterday and by last night I felt weird, again palpitations and felt faint... My friend is a doc, and lives near by, shame said it was panic attack ... I wonder what could I be allergic too? Terrified never again ;.(. Feed back would be greatly appreciated? Thankyou Karen

    I have had a few bereavements ? Would this matter?just a thought.

  51. I had a root canal done yesterday and the doctor gave me 5 injections. Before he was even finished i felt my heart speed up and i started shaking. I was not nervous at all untill this happened. It lasted for about 5 minutes. I did not tell the doctor but i will next time. I know the alternative to novacain does not numb you as well.

  52. Hi, I feel a little better after reading your comments re: rapid heart after having injection. I was having restoration to a wisdom tooth, my arms went limp, my heart has never beaten so fast, thought I was going to faint, was very frightening. My question - is it normal for my jaw to be very sore 14 hours later and I feel like I have a tooth ache but I can't pin point which tooth. There was no ache before this treatment. Is it just the jaw, I am confused and taking panadol for the pain.

  53. Hi, Aurelia here again. I sent you a message a little earlier. Forgot to mention that I felt a very painful stabbing pain from my gum to my eyelid when the Dentist was giving me the injection. I usually put up with the injections quiet well but this one caused me to squeel in pain I am worried that this could have caused damage. It is now 20 hours later and I am still in pain. Help!!

  54. I have had four procedures (done in quadrants) over the last 6 weeks. Today, the final quadrant, she injected me and immediately I felt like my heart was going to come through my chest wall. It lasted for about 20-30 seconds and then subsided. After letting it "set" in for a couple of minutes she started to drill much to my surprise that the tooth WAS NOT numb! She gave me another injection this time without any adverse side affects and within a couple of minutes I was thoroughly numbed. I had just recovered from some arrhythmic events from being hyperthyroid and this gave me quiet a scare. Glad to see that it is a normal reaction. I appreciate your post because it put my mind at ease.

  55. I had work done on 3 teeth just two day ago .. had the kind of anesthetic that caused my heart beat to drastically increase for about 20 seconds. Had two of those pluse the other anesthesis usually used for root canal work. Piculair thing is that the procedure lasted 4 hours, tried to go to pass urine a few times - could not, ended up going to ER, had a catheter to empty my bladder. Still have it on for 3 more days.

    I am sure this was caused by the local anesthetic - because before these procedure I had no problem passing urine.

  56. Very interested by comments as I have had a racing heart after local anesthetic for some years now.I also have an anxiety disorder and as my heart usually beats faster as soon as I enter the dentist's surgery I had always assumed it was part of the same thing.A couple of years ago,however,my dentist asked me if I had that effect after an injection because he had recently had a patient who'd had it and wondered if she was allergic,which for some reason had amused him(!).He said it was a combination of ,for most people.the adrenalin and(as in my case) nervousness,so now that I know it's not just me I feel better about it as it doesn't last very long,max 30 mins.Mind you a couple of posts have mentioned heart attacks so I'll probably worry about that now!Had heard the non-adrenalin alternative is not nearly as effective for most people.I think if it were dangerous they would have to tell you,surely?

    • Janice you can tell them you don't want epinephrine. That's the one with the caffeine in it or something which makes you jittery. If they happen to hit a blood vessel and it goes right into your bloodstream it can cause issues for some people, for me it gives me shakes like the world is about to end.

      The non epi anesthesia wont last quite as long but you won't feel uber nervous.!

    • Janice, although my dentist tried to ensure me the standard one was very very safe, as soon as I mentioned that I used to suffer from palpitations (due to some cosmetic defect on my valve, not dangerous, but annoying), she offered me the other one. She said they use the one without adrenaline for older patients and those with high blood pressure.

  57. hi.
    i had a root canal today. i told the dentist i am very sensitive to epi and he went ahead and gave me a shot with epi and one without. very quickly after the shots went in, i felt a burning sensation in my chest. it was very uncomfortable. it passed after about 3 to 5 minutes and then he went ahead and did the procedure. what caused this? i was anxious since this was the second root canal on the same tooth. now i am in more pain !! what options do i have at a dentist for other anesthesia if i cannot use "caines" ?
    eventually, i want to get veneers. what will i do then for anesthesia ?

    • I worked in a dental office as an assistant for years. Just simply tell him NO epinephrine. The end. The use it because it lasts longer but being traumatized isn't worth it. when the numbness starts to wear off.. just tell then and they will re apply an injection.

      haha one time I even had a dentist totally miss and poke my lip... ouch.

      anyway...relax and know that you don't have to go koo koo in the chair.

      Tom any thoughts?

      • I agree - you can always ask for no epinephrine - it's an anesthetic marketed under the name of Carbocaine that they can give you. It won't last as long, but usually is fine for routine fillings.

  58. Hello Doctor
    Im 24 years old, i had root canal treatment in one of my tooth, later on it got infected and the filling went out of it then i decided to get my tooth removed, today i went to the doctor and he operated me and the tooth was removed. As soon as i left the dental chair i felt diziness, numbness loss of hearing and eye sight. Doctor gave me decadran inj. And i felt like i got paralyzed my feet got curved hands and rib cage had the same situation, i felt tightness in my body then after the second inj dont know what it was , i felt better... Can u plz me what is the reason behind? It took enough time to remove my tooth bcoz it got removed into pieces as it was totally destroyed. For some time i was gud but in the end i felt like above???

  59. I had an injection for an extraction yesterday. After receiving the injection my heart beat hard and fat. It lasted about 10 minutes. This has happened only once before. My blood pressure was check during the racing it was 201/106. I do not have high blood pressure. Why was my pressure high?

  60. Hi!,
    Few days back, I was with dentist for tooth extraction and adraline was injected. As was being done, my heart started punding for about 10 seconds. Unfortunately, I had to keep mouth open as there were intrsuments inside mouth and hence could not talk to dentist immediately. The throbbing suddenly stopped. Eventhough, I have had few dental treatments in the past, this was first experience! I am 59 and have BP & Diabetics in control. Dentist is advising me to take cardilogists opinion before any further treatment.

  61. Hi everybody,
    Around six mounths ago I had extensive dental work carried out,which was spread out over a period of 3 mounths. The work consisted of 6 big fillings.
    I had the same experience as all the other people, but the difference for me is since the work I've never felt the same!...I've experienced regular head aches and bouts of dizziness and with some nausea thrown in.
    I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience, any help would be a relief, as I'm off to the doctors today for a full health check.
    Thanks for reading.

    • I have had this happen as well!!!! In 2010 I found out I needed bout every tooth In my mouth worked on ranging from large fillings to small fillings. I was going in throughout the month and every single appointment after the injection I would get to feeling very bad.....shaking, sweating, chills, nausea, pounding heart and dizziness. Now I have always had panic disorder but the going to the dentist really wasn't a big deal for me until 2010!! I made it to about 4 appts and couldn't finish the rest of my teeth.....the after effects of those numbings has stayed with me and I thought it was from the silver fillings. My anxiety and panic disorder went insane!!! I am now do for even more fillings along with the ones I couldn't do in 2010 I am scared to death!! Apparently it wasn't the silver fillings causing all my mental symptoms (depression, panic) and the body symptoms (nausea, even lock jaw!!!!) Those two weeks in 2010 ruined my life and now I have to go back for hours of more dental work....thanks a lot dentist for making my life hell!! And I think ALL dental offices should have iv sedation so you don't have to go through this.....iv sedation is over two hours from where I live!! and way more expensive!!

  62. This explanation falls under the category of "it works in theory." But it's wrong.

    Yes, epinepherine is included in local anesthetics that dentists use . Yes, epinepherine can make your heart beat faster and harder (through B-1 adrenergic receptors in the heart). But the amount you get is not enough to cause systemic effects. The epi that you get instead acts at alpha-adrenergic receptors in the blood vessels near the injection site to squeeze blood vessels (cause vasoconstriction). This has two effects: 1) decreases bleeding where work is going on, and 2) more importantly, decreases blood flow to the area to slow the rate at which the anesthetic is leeched away from the site. In effect, this makes the anesthetic last longer. To reiterate, epi *decreases* the already-small amount of anesthetic that gets into the bloodstream.

    You actually get more anesthetic than epi. To get a systemic (cardiac) effect from the epinepherine in locaI anesthetics, you'd have to get a dose so huge that you actually get an arrhythmia from the local anesthetic itself. And it would have to be injected directly into a vein. And those things don't happen in the dentist's chair.

    When your heart goes thumpity-thump from getting poked in the mouth, it's because you anticipate not liking it (epinepherine release from the adrenal glands), and you don't like it (epinepherine release from the adrenal glands). It's 100% the fight-fright-flight response.

    • ohhh I don't know about that one. I have been completely fine and calm and still then when then one of 2 things happen after the injection.
      1- my lip (assuming lower block) gets numb
      2 - my lip (assuming again lower block) doesn't get numb but my heart starts racing like a mother....

      (p.s. worked in a dentist office for years so I'm not afraid.).

      I love the time my eye started burning :)

    • I disagree.

      I've fought off machete-wielding thugs while choking on a smoke grenade. I've saved the life of a woman collapsed with cerebral haemorrhage while waiting nearly three hours for the ambulance. I've taped my own thumb back together after slicing the distal phalange almost completely in half hours from help. I've been caught amongst ferrous-rich rocks during a thunderstorm on a mountain, yards from multiple lightning strikes that made my hair stand on end (thinking all the while, "wow wow wow wow"). I spent three hours trapped in the passenger seat of a wrecked car once, bleeding profusely from the gash my teeth opened through my cheek, joking and chatting with the fire crew that spent two of those hours trying to cut me free (they'd spent the first hour getting to the remote country road my lady friend driver had chosen to meet with a tree on); once I'd established the driver was unharmed and able to remove herself fromt he vehicle, I didn't see much point in making a big deal out of it.

      Not one of those situations resulted in an extreme flight/fight response. I don't fear pain thanks to a lifetime of debilitating migraines. I don't fear needles, though they rarely have any effect upon me and I'd be happy never to see another one. I certainly don't fear dentists or surgery - they're not half as intimidating as trying to hold a door against a bunch of murderous scumbags while getting caught by the odd blade thrust through the door (one of the few times I was NOT surprised at the vast volumes of blood pouring from my head at the slightest cut), and fumbling on the floor for the smoke grenade that they threw through one of the new holes in the door.

      If you want to see me nervous or scared (or terrified) put someone I care about through that sort of pain or misery, but I'll still maintain my composure while I'm thinking hard on what to do next (and possibly, just how much I can hurt you before someone pulls me off you - I LIKE my adrenaline, and I know how to use it).

      So, it has to be said, I was very surprised by my reaction to an injection a little over a year ago. I normally expect a slight tingling sensation that fades in about the time the dentist expects me to start drooling and slurring (much to their concern, this rarely happens). When my heart began pounding within a few seconds, my skin went cold, and I had the very real feeling that I was about to black out, I can assure you that the only possible reason for it was something in the injection.

      For the few seconds it lasted (felt like minutes), I honestly did not enjoy the sensation at all. Once I'd regained myself somewhat, I jested that it felt like I'd had a great whack of adrenaline. I was surprised when the dentist confirmed that there was a little with the anaesthetic.

      I was not so surprised that the injection had little effect, barely dulling the pain of having a broken tooth uprooted; a novel sensation that I'd rather never experience again, but still not one that evokes even the most remote sensation of fear as I understand it. Sure, I'll be more careful about breaking my own teeth from now on, but there is no way in hell that I suffered a natural flight/fight response in that chair. I know my own body and mind better than anything else in this universe, and I'm a science and technology nerd, so that's saying something!

      The theory and the fact are not always entirely reconcilable. This is just my tuppence worth.

  63. Thankyou for posting this site. It does help me feel a bit less scared, because othwer people have experienced these things too.
    I had 2 fillings at a new dentist yesterday. I'd told him I don't have the adrenaline injection because it made me feel very ill once, so I assumed I was allergic or sensitive to it. He probably injected into a blood-vessel. had suffered with panic attacks and free-floating anxiety for years and the last thing I needed was any extra adrenaline!!!
    He didn't seem too keen on using another anaesthetic as it wouldn't last so long, but I assumed he used something else as I'd asked him to. He injected both teeth at once, one a the top and one at the bottom back, and by the time he started work on the big bottom tooth I could feel pain from the nerve. He stopped and injected again. When he started drilling I could still feel the sensitivity. So he gave me 2 massively long injections on different sides, which hurt all the way up my nose to my eye. The anaesthetic was dribbling down my throat in one of them and it was horrendously bitter. I started to choke and try to cough. I don't know how I held off. As soon as he finished he let me sit up and I was choking and coughing and nearly being sick.
    I didn't have pain during the filling and was mighty relieved when it was all done! But when I stood up I felt all woozy....every time I moved my eyes everything took time to catch up. I didn't feel at all secure so I asked to sit down in the waiting room. I was given a glass of water but was there for some time and still felt very peculiar. I felt on the edge of a faint or of being sick, had a headache and my head felt big and stuffed and I felt too dizzy and wobbly to go anywhere. I have never experienced this before.
    The dentist advised me to have something sweet and told me to eat before I came next time...but I'd had a meal before I went. He said it was a combination of lying down for a long time plus stress. That's always the case at the dentist, but I've never felt like that before.
    The biscuits worked fairly quickly, but when I looked in the mirror I was really red as if my blood-pressure was very high. I felt strange all the rest of the day and my mouth was very bruised and swollen from the injections, which I've not experienced before.
    Today I've been having lots of uneasy feelings and waves of nervousness, which I've not had for years. I even found it hard to eat and I felt a bit sick and had the runs.
    Is this the result of the injections because I had too much? Or do you think he gave me the adrenaline injection without telling me? Or can the alternative anaesthetic produce these symptoms?
    And why didn't he wait till he'd done the first filling before giving me the injection for the 2nd one?

    • I REALLY hate when dentists rush. If they cant wait a few minutes for the needle to take effect they shouldn't be in business. This isn't a butcher shop.

      next time tell HIM To *WAIT* until your lip feels numb. It sounds like he kept missing and got frustrated.
      That is in my opinion.

      Too bad we dont all live in Bridgewater, VA - we could go see Tom who probably cares about his patients.

      • That's definitely true, some dentists do end up rushing, which may help them in the short-term (get through more patients and get more revenue), but I think it hurts them in the long-term when the make their patients uncomfortable. If I miss the nerve on the first and second times, I'll usually get some anesthetic right around the tooth and then when that's done taking effect, I'll give an injection in the ligament right next to the tooth, and that one will usually get the stubborn teeth numb.

        I think it's definitely a right to be comfortable when you have dental/medical treatment in a routine setting.

        Thanks for the kind words, Scooter - I did end up choosing somewhere that's quite a ways off the beaten path!

  64. I just had a root canal retreatment done today. The endodontist was first going to do the top tooth (#3), so gave me two injections of local anesthetic. I felt my heart racing for a short while, and felt a little shaky, but just focused on taking deep breaths and it quickly went away -- I thought maybe I was nervous even though I didn't feel nervous. It turned out that the top tooth couldn't be saved, so he instead did the root canal on the bottom tooth (#30) that also needed one, so he did two more injections. I felt the same heart-racing, so knew it was some kind of mild response to the anesthetic. Figured I was just extra sensitive, but decided to google it tonight. I'm so relieved to find out that this happens in a lot of people, especially since I'm having oral surgery next week to remove what's left of #3. Thanks for the website. :)

  65. Thanks for the article. I've had dental work done numerous times and never had any issues. Today was different. I'm 32, female and healthy. No known allergies. I got the first shot for numbing. My dentist poked around to inject again. I winced and he stopped. He asked if I was okay and suddenly I felt extremely light headed. Everything went white and my eyes shut. Immediately my heart began to race and I had short rapid breathing. This lasted about 3 minutes. Then slowly subsided and everything was back to normal. Totally weird experience! My dentist was kind enough to walk me through what was happening and telling me to breath slowly through my nose, asked if I ate breakfast and said that this was a reaction to the epi. He said it must have hit a blood vessel. So the event was a bit strange, but I appreciated him talking me through it and explaining. He need two more injections afterwards. Everything was fine. I felt a little during the procedure, but it felt like something cold than pain. I just had never experienced that nor did I know that could happen. I feel fine now, but am going back next week. I like my dentist and think he is great. It was my blood vessel that caused the issue :)

  66. Hi! I had to have a molar removed yesterday - after-effects of root canal done years ago - and for the first time I experienced the adrenaline surge. My heart was racing so wildly I was seriously concerned. Added to that, once the heartbeat subsided my muscles were tensing involuntarily, making my legs shake and twitch. Quite an experience. The downhill slide from that rush left me miserable and depressed and feeling this morning like a truck went over me. Fortunately as the day has gone by I'm recovering equilibrium!

  67. thanks 4 giving information 2 people.really keep it up.

  68. Yes, my heart was pounding so hard and fast, I felt unsteady and thought I was going to pass out, seemed like it lasted about 30sec or more and I felt uncomfortable and uneasy all day. That happened only once. Mostly the other times I usually feel a little uneasy eg; trebbling hands for about 10 is that normal?

  69. I had a broken filling removed today and when the dentist injected the lido I immediately experienced terrifying rapid heart beat and felt difficulty breathing. Before I even said a word the dentist told me he "was close to a vessel and my heart is probably racing but it will pass soon". I have never experienced this before and it was horrible. I am puzzled how the dentist knew I was experiencing tachycardia.

  70. a few months ago i had two fillings and a wisdom tooth removed. when the dentist injected me my heart started to race in my chest, i felt really fluttered and anxious, i had no idea what was happening. i said it to the dentist and he said its probably the adrenaline being absorbed into your bloodstream which happens sometimes. it would have been nice to know beforehand that there was a chance of this happening!

    i was back again recently to get two more fillings done and after i was injected and left to get numb i had a weird shaking sensation throughout my body. but no heart racing this time.

    i don't understand why patients are not informed about these side affects.

  71. Hi Tom,

    I Just had this happen today and it scared the hell out of me! I was having a root canal on the 16. It's a long story, but basically crown had been loose for over a year and despite my complaining, dentist missed it. Crown fell off a few days ago and tooth underneath was black! My Dentist thought he could save it by doing a root canal. I was SOOO nervous, as I know this is close to the sinus cavity and figured there had to be a ton of decay to cause it to be black. It took a LOT of freezing 2 1/2 vials and lots in tooth canal as well. I Could still feel it. The Dentist cleaned out most of the 4 canals but temporarily filled it and am going back in a few weeks to finish it off. He said he wanted it to heal a bit (and he ran out of time). He mentioned that the anatomy was not what he expected (not sure what that meant)? Also, the Assistant told be it was bleeding. I was on Nitrous oxide for the first time and at first it didn't help because I was too nervous. I Cried a little after about 30 minutes when there was still pain in tooth after the 5th needle? I think I finally fell asleep with mask on but possibly passed out because all I can remember was flashing lights under my lids and my heart beating so fast and loud that it brought me "to" if you will. I somehow shouted "hot" maybe meant "heart" and then gradually came to and calmed my breathing. As I said, it scared the shit out of me. Had a good cry on the way home in the car. I seriously thought I might have been dying at the time. Any thoughts? I have an appointment to finish the root canal and possible crown lengthening in a few weeks time. Will be just as nervous, I'm sure. Could the combination of nitrous oxide and the excessive amounts of anaesthetic be dangerous? Or had the oxygen run out? I know they fiddled (removed one) with the tanks part way through my appointment. Thanks

  72. I've had a terrible past with dentists having grown up in another country and not experienced American dentists until recently. My fear of them kept me away from them for a while longer than I should have stayed away. Also lack of money and health insurance were major factors too. Now I'm playing catch up and have insurance and a bit more funds to take care of many issues like root canals, crowns and an upcoming extraction.
    I find that even though I'm slowly learning that my dentists can be trusted to not deliberately hurt me, I'm still wary of the methods used to work on my teeth. I find that after procedures and lying in the dental chair for whatever amount of time that I'm very unsteady on my feet and worry I'm going to pass out after standing up. I haven't done it yet but I never feel very stable when I get up and have the fear I'll one day embarrass myself by falling over. Is this from the injections to numb me up or is this just me being ridiculous?

    • Hi Fran - You could ask the dentist to slowly raise you up in the chair. If you've been lying down for a long time and suddenly stand up, gravity can cause blood to rush downward toward your feet, making you feel lightheaded. I would discuss your concerns with your dentist. Changes are he/she would be more than willing to accommodate you if you bring up your concerns. I hope that helps!

  73. Yesterday I went to have a tooth extraction,feeling very brave and thinking I'd overcome my fear I decided to have it done awake,as soon as the injection hit my mouth I felt an awful hot electrifying pain and within seconds the room was spinning I started sweating and then continued to be sick. The next day and I'm still feeling very dizzy,sick and my face doesn't feel right any ideas why this has happened

    • Hi Erika - I'm not sure what could be going on. Do you have any allergies? The epinephrine reaction usually just lasts for a minute or so. Other than that, it could be pain from the extraction that you're still feeling. Beyond that, I'm not quite sure. I hope that helps!

      • Hi I didn't have it taken out I was being too sick,I have just got back from a and e they think that it must have been a nerve it was injected into and I have had a bad reaction to it still feeling very queezy

  74. Well I went back for a second part of my root canal for the "build up". This root canal seems very long to need 3 visits. The first one I felt great after, took some ibuprofen for a few days and was great. This time was brutal, and when I got the anesthetic my legs immediately felt heavy, my heart raced and then I started to shaking. They give me the informed consent to sign and I barely could hold the pen. I was told it was the epinephrine to make the shot last longer. They must of hit a vessel because I didn't feel this at all last time. I work in a pain management program and do biofeedback so I teach people all day how to relax and avoid the fight or flight response. I went about my self hypnosis for the rest of the procedure but now my mouth is hurting worse then before the root canal, I had to embarrassingly ask for pain meds, and my chest hurts from fighting against the epinephrine for 2 hours to lower my heart rate and relax.

    Injecting epinephrine for a dental procedure is completely counterproductive to helping people relax. No wonder people have panic attacks at the dentist, this initiates them. They really need to find something else.

  75. This just happened to me today, so I thought I would do a little research to find out if it was normal. I'm glad to know that is was not just a nervouse or anxious reaction to getting a shot. It did subside within a few seconds. But I also notice that I feel a little tired for a couple hours after I get my dental work done. Maybe that's an effect from coming down from the adrenaline. I will do more research. Thanks for the info!

  76. Thank you Tom for posting this. This never used to happen to me before, but today suddenly I felt dizzy and heart beat racing after she gave the injection for almost 10-12 seconds. I thought of running out of the clinic. I started breathing slowly and deeply and that feeling vanished. The moment I came back from the clinic I checked and got this very useful information. Though my dentist is very very calm and never hurries, I didn't tell her anything about what I experienced. Now I will definitely inform her, so that she is also aware of my sensitiveness for certain drugs. Thank you once again...

  77. I am 57 and have never had any problems at the dentist - until about 2 years ago when I needed a filling - the first injection didn't work, so he gave me another, that didn't work either so he gave me a different one - that one made me feel so ill - my heart was racing, I felt feint, sick, dizzy, tingly I thought I would end up in hospital - then a week or so ago I broke a back tooth and went to the dentist today - I remined him that I had a bad reaction last time so he said he would give me a 'special' one so that I would be ok.

    A few mintues after the injection I felt spaced out, tingly hands, hot and sweaty and 'not quite with it' he insisted I sit for a while before commencing with my filling - after the work was completed I still felt odd - and was given some water to drink - that was about 3 hours ago and although the effects are wearing off I feel tired and headachy - why is this?

  78. Glad I found this article! I also thought I was spontaneously having my first-ever dentist anxiety attack, but it's obvious now the dentist just hit a blood vessel. It was a horrible experience - heart beating like it was going to explode, shaking, numb extremities, tingly left arm and cold sweats that lasted an hour. I actually apologized for being so nervous. I have a feeling the dentist knew what the problem really was but didn't mention it.

    I'll ask her to skip the epinephrine next time. I'd rather have the pain!

  79. hi, this happened to me today, i had 3 injections to remove a molar, probably the wierdest feeling ever, my heart beating so fast for about 20 seconds, it was quite scarey, at least now i know why, thankyou.

  80. Hi, I just went to the dentist a couple of days ago and had a tooth pulled, it was a different experience since the last times I had a tooth pulled. My heart started beating so fast as soon as I got the first injections, I got a second injection and the same thing happened, even when the tooth was being loosened and pulled on my heart was beating faster and faster that I started to get dizzy, I had to God to help me to slow my heart beat down because I thought my heart was going to bust. Finally it did slow down and had to wait 15mins before I felt ready to get up and walk.

  81. It's a shame that when a person is already apprehensive about going to the dentist because they are so expensive and very evasive about what they are doing, that you should then be traumatized by thinking that you are going to have a heart attack in the dental chair.

    Is a patient allowed to request the absence of epinephrine in their treatment?

    • Hi Debbie - You are in control of your dental treatment. If you don't want epinephrine, you can ask your dentist and they are obligated to not give you epinephrine (or refuse to treat you in the worst case scenario, but I think that would be unlikely especially in today's economy).

      I hope that helps!

  82. It makes my face sweat, cause me to be nauseous and yes my heart race so much I want to fight or flee Anxious) sick for hours after and days of feeling like my heart is doing flip flops. I think I am allergic ????

    • You are probably senstive to it like many. Do you have problems with caffeine ?
      It's not a great feeling.

      • Umm I do not drink / take any products with caffine in at all - so if caffine is in this product that would explain the heart issues... no not a good feeling at all

  83. I just had a wisdom tooth extracted 2 days ago. After she was done I started feeling my heart pounding very fast and I felt very strange, also felt like I was about to faint, the dentist told me it was from the anesthetic and they had me sit in the chair for awhile until I felt better. I also went numb very fast, she told me that she's never had anyone go numb that fast before, it was almost immediately and she was able to start pulling my tooth right away. I worry now if there may be a problem since I went numb so fast?

  84. This has happened to me last week and again today. I have an erratic heartbeat anyway and am not on beta blockers due to resting heart beat very slow. I have to avoid caffeine etc to prevent episodes. Anyway worse effects today racing heart palpitations, my, neck and shoulders flushed bright red and very shakes hands and legs! Thankfully I found this so I know I'm not allergic to the anesthesia just effects my heart phew! Very hair raising

  85. This just happened to me yesterday when having an implant. I've never experienced this at the dentist before, but I have been having adrenal issues and boy did it have my heart racing yesterday. I do not like that feeling, but just wondering if it's dangerous? Do I request that they not use the adrenaline with the next session?

  86. I had a dental injection once and instantly became shakey (almost as if I were cold). It was uncontrolable tremors, very strange. It was the epi free stuff too - wasn't not a pleasant feeling. Dentist said it could of been I didn't eat enough that day.

  87. Because of this sensitivity, my dentist supposedly gives me the alternative anesthetic, but I still feel incredibly unwell; my stomach feels upset, I get a headache and generally feel off balance for most of the day after.
    Is it possible to have a sensitivity to the alternative anesthesia?

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  1. Why Dental Anesthetic Has Epinephrine (Adrenaline) In It | jonasultton

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Tom, Creator of Oral AnswersHi, I'm Tom. I recently graduated from dental school and am now a dentist in Bridgewater, Virginia. I started this blog to help people take better care of their teeth. You can learn more about me or ask me a question.

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