Anesthesia During Pregnancy


If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, tell your dentist during your visit.

During the first trimester (three months), it is best to avoid major non-emergency dental treatment. However, treatment to remove infections of the teeth or gums is critical to perform at any time during pregnancy.

After the first trimester, discuss your anesthesia options with your dentist and your obstetrician or midwife. They can help to decide on the safest choice for you.

Local Anesthetics

Sometimes a dentist will give you a shot to numb part of your mouth. This is called a local anesthetic. You can receive some local anesthetics for necessary treatment while you are pregnant. It's best to have dental treatment before pregnancy and postpone treatment that you don't need right away. You should still have preventive treatment, such as tooth cleanings, and periodontal (gum-disease) treatment.

If you are nursing, you can receive normal doses of local anesthetics. This does not affect the baby.


Sedation makes you drowsy and less anxious. If you are pregnant, avoid nitrous oxide. There are many other options to reduce dental anxiety. Examples include listening to music or acupuncture. You should not have diazepam or similar drugs if you are pregnant or could be pregnant.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia causes you to become unconscious. The effects of general anesthesia on you and your fetus will vary. In most cases, you should avoid general anesthesia while you are pregnant. Tell your dentist or oral surgeon if you know you are pregnant, or think you might be.


© 2002- 2017 Aetna, Inc. All rights reserved.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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  1. Preparation – If you need local anesthesia, your dentist will dry part of your mouth with air or use cotton rolls. Then your dentist will swab the area with a gel to numb the skin.

  2. Injection – Next, your dentist will slowly inject the local anesthetic into the gum tissue. Most people don't feel the needle. Instead, the sting they feel is caused by the anesthetic moving into the tissue.

  3. After effects – An injection of local anesthesia can last up to several hours. After you leave the dentist's office, you may find it difficult to speak clearly and eat or drink. Be careful not to bite down on the area that is numbed. You could cause damage to yourself without realizing it.