Diane E. Mason, DVM, PhD, DACVA
College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA
The objectives of this lecture are to indicate the utility of dental nerve blocks. During the lecture we will review the sensory innervation to the oral cavity. Everyone should become familiar with the key anatomical sites on skull that allow one to perform dental nerve blocks. Anatomic differences between the dog and the cat will be highlighted. Special considerations for dog size and conformation such as the unique aspects of the brachycephalic skull will be pointed out during the lecture. Four specific dental nerve blocks will be discussed:
Infraorbital nerve block
Mandibular alveolar nerve block
Maxillary or caudal infraorbital nerve block
Mental nerve block
The practitioner attending this lecture should be comfortable to incorporate these blocks into his or her practice as the techniques are not difficult and no special equipment is required. The proper dosing of local anesthetic and choice of drug will be discussed. Dental nerve blocks are a highly practical technique that can be beneficial our patients. There are several distinct advantages of dental nerve blocks in the small animals. Dental nerve blocks control pain during dentistry. As a result there is no need for a deep plane of anesthesia. Certainly many of the animals presenting for dental prophylaxis and more complicated dental procedures are often members of the geriatric pet population, sometimes with other health concerns that elevate their risk for anesthesia. Taking advantage of the effect of local anesthetic techniques in pain control and as an adjunct to general anesthesia creates a safer anesthetic circumstance in the older animal.