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You may be surprised to learn that most dentists stopped using Novocain in the 1940s! Instead, we use Procaine or a similar local anesthetic. However, as one of the first drugs ever used in modern sedation dentistry, Novocain is still extremely important (and very interesting!) Below are some interesting facts about Novocain from our Steele Creek dentist.
Novocain Was Created in 1905
Novocain was first synthesized in 1905 by German chemist Alford Einhorn, two years after the first manmade anesthetic, Amylocaine, was created. Einhorn named his discovery after the Latin term “Nova”, or “new”, and “caine”, a common ending for alkaloids at the time.
Its Inventor Didn’t Want It To Be Used in Dentistry
Einhorn wanted Novocain to be used during amputations and other surgeries, and was disappointed when dentists started using it. It is rumored that Einhorn actually spent his days trying to discourage Novocain from being used for the “mundane purpose” of drilling teeth. Surgeons, for their part, preferred for patients to be totally unconscious during their procedures—as did, we’re guessing, the patients themselves.
Novocain Replaced Cocaine
Before Novocain was discovered, the most commonly used local anesthetic was cocaine, which was first introduced as a cure for Civil War soldiers’ morphine addictions. Over time, it became evident that cocaine was highly addictive and often toxic, prompting researchers to search for an alternative. Before cocaine, dentists used—believe it or not—large quantities of alcohol.
Modern Dentists Don’t Use Novocain
Novocain (or its non-trade name, Procain) was discontinued in dentistry because it can cause an allergic reaction in some patients. It was replaced in 1948 by Lidocaine, which is less allergenic, faster-acting, and longer-lasting. Lidocaine is listed in the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a functioning health system.
Need a Sedation Dentist in Steele Creek?
We hope that you enjoyed reading these unusual sedation dentistry facts! If you need a sedation dentistry procedure, such as wisdom teeth removal or oral surgery in Steele Creek, please contact us here to schedule an appointment.