3 Chemicals You Can Thank For Your Last Painless Dental Procedure

If you think getting a wisdom tooth pulled is painful, just imagine what it must have felt like before the days of anesthesia. In fact, before this important discovery, every dental procedure was incredibly painful, and could even have been life-threatening due to poor sanitation or a host of other factors. Thankfully, we live in a world of safe, effective anesthesia. Here are 3 different types of anesthetics that, at one time or another, were popular and cutting-edge in dentist's offices, all of which contributed to our vision of the pain-reducing chemicals we know today. 


Diethyl ether is commonly accepted as the first true safe anesthetic, as it was demonstrated to completely eliminate pain from a dental surgery performed in Massachusetts General Hospital on October 16, 1846 by William T.G. Morton. What made this procedure so impressive was that it did not rely on suffocation like earlier experiments with anesthesia, such as those done by Henry Hill Hickman, which relied on animals breathing in carbon dioxide, essentially being knocked unconscious thanks to lack of oxygen. 

Sodium thiopental

Sodium thiopental is a very fast-acting anesthesia that was used first in the 1930s and was touted as the next big thing in medical anesthesia. However, this fascination was fairly short-lived, as the chemical was very unpredictable and required a large dose in order to induce a sustainable unconsciousness. Sodium thiopental is, however, still used today to induce unconsciousness before an anesthetic mask is applied to a patient. 


Xenon is a noble gas that is currently being explored as the next step in medical anesthesia. Xenon has high potential as an anesthetic because it allows a patient to remain stable during a procedure and it allows for blood flow to the brain and major organs to be sustained at normal levels. Based on current research, the only downsides to this drug are its high cost and limited availability. It is for this reason that it may be a few years before you're given a xenon mask before having a root canal done. 

It is a fair assumption that if it weren't for anesthesia, the general public would undergo far fewer dental procedures per year, and our dental health would suffer immensely. Thankfully, there is a huge variety of dental anesthetics available to the average dental patient, meaning that your next procedure is likely to be painless thanks to anesthetic innovators like William T.G. Morton and so many others through the years. 

For more information about modern dental practices, contact a dental office like Impression Dental.