I need a new dental crown, but I dislike having my mouth numb for hours afterward. Can OraVerse speed my recovery?

Answers from Alan Carr, D.M.D.

OraVerse speeds up the return of normal sensation to your lips and mouth following dental work — including fillings, crowns and root canals — requiring a local anesthetic that may also numb your lips cheeks and tongue. The numbness can last two or more hours after the procedure. When your mouth and lips are numb, smiling, talking and drinking can be difficult.

Phentolamine mesylate (OraVerse) speeds up the return of normal sensation following dental work. Studies show that OraVerse — given as an injection after dental work is finished — returns normal sensations in the lips, cheeks and tongue 75 to 85 minutes faster than without the drug.

How OraVerse works isn't fully understood, but it's thought to increase blood flow to the soft tissue area. OraVerse only works if the original anesthetic contains a medication that narrows your blood vessels (vasoconstrictor), such as epinephrine.

Phentolamine mesylate belongs to a class of drugs that can cause rapid heartbeats and irregular heart rhythms. Though such events are uncommon with OraVerse, tell your dentist if you have a history of cardiovascular disease.

OraVerse is not recommended for children under age 6 or for children who weigh less than 33 pounds (15 kilograms). The use of OraVerse requires an additional fee and isn't covered by dental insurance.

Aug. 16, 2011