Common Anesthetics

The following anesthetics are appropriate for use in pregnant women at standard dental doses.

  • Lidocaine with or without epinephrine
  • Procaine
  • Nitrous Oxide:
    • Controversy based on studies of chronic exposure in operating room nurses leading to B12 deficiency before the advent of scavenger systems.
    • Dental use of nitrous oxide delivers much smaller, shorter exposures which have not been associated with these problems.
    • Hospitals do safely use nitrous oxide for pain control in labor.
    • California and New York guidelines indicate nitrous oxide can be used in pregnancy with appropriate care and it is the sedation agent of choice for pregnant patients with fear and anxiety.


Oral Health During Pregnancy and Early Childhood: Evidence Guidelines for Health Professionals. California Dental Association Foundation. 2010.

Motherisk. Toronto, Ontario, Canada at (Included referencing National Collaborative Perinatal Project, 1959-1974, Record Group 443, National Institutes of Health.)

Hilgers KK, Douglass JM, Mathieu GP. Adolescent Pregnancy: A Review of Dental Treatment Guidelines. Pediatr Dent 2003;25:459-467.

Care During Pregnancy and Early Childhood Practice Guidelines. New York Public Health Department 2006

US Food and Drug Administration Pregnancy and Lactation Labeling Final Rule

Oral Health Care During Pregnancy Expert Workgroup. 2012. Oral Health Care During Pregnancy: A National Consensus Statement-Summary of an Expert Workgroup Meeting. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center.

Briggs GC, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation, Ninth Edition.  Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA 2011.