Complications of an intra-arterial injection from an inferior alveolar nerve block

Brian Webber, Herbert Orlansky, Charles Lipton, Mark Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background. Unintended intravascular injections from inferior alveolar nerve blocks result in frustrating complications, both systemically and locally. It is imperative that the dentist diagnose the complication and treat it appropriately. Sometimes, several reactions occur simultaneously. Case Description. The authors present a case report that illustrates some of the many complications resulting from inferior alveolar nerve block injections. In this case, complications developed from intra-arterial injection of local anesthetic. The facial skin, intraoral structures and eye were affected. Within 60 minutes of the injection, all structures returned to their normal state. Prompt diagnosis and reassurance usually calm the patient. Clinical Implications. Even when clinicians use the utmost care, by aspirating before the injection and noting anatomical landmarks, intra-arterial injections can occur during inferior alveolar nerve blocks. Fortunately, permanent damage to nerves, facial and oral tissues, and eyes is rare. The practitioner should diagnose and treat the problems appropriately to avoid any irreversible complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1702-1704
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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