Definition and Properties of Local Anaesthetics

Local anaesthesia is the temporary loss of sensation or pain in one part of the body produced by a topically applied or injected agent without depressing the level of consciousness.1

Dental anaesthetics fall into two groups: esters (procaine, benzocaine) and amides (lidocaine, mepivacaine, prilocaine and articaine). Esters are no longer used as injectable anaesthetics; however, benzocaine is used as a topical anaesthetic. Amides are the most commonly used injectable anaesthetics with lidocaine also used as a topical anaesthetic.

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