Patients ask for a dental block for lip fillers all the time. They want full, voluptuous, and natural lips, but don’t want to have too much pain. Their general impression is: “If you’re going to stick something into my lip, that’s going to hurt me, isn’t it?” They want to know that they’re not going to have pain during this procedure. If you’re considering getting a dental block before lip fillers, here’s a guide.
Does it hurt to get lip fillers?
So here’s what I would tell you — it’s sort of an interesting historical thing. We started injections in the lips with collagen. Nobody uses collagen anymore, but the interesting thing was collagen came in a very short needle, and all of it was already mixed with lidocaine or xylocaine, both are anesthetics. Patients did pretty well with these because the short little tiny needle, and the lidocaine made it OK for them.
And then a revolution came out. Hyaluronic acid fillers came out — Restalyne, Juvederm and many others that are hitting the market in the US today. In fact, in Europe there are 190 hyaluronic acid fillers. When they first came out, they were not mixed with lidocaine. And because of that, the topical anesthesia that was used was sometimes inadequate. So, many patients asked for dental blocks. What we would do, in almost all of our patients, is use some topical anesthetic, some topical lidocaine. We would inject underneath the gum, inside the lip, and the lower lip to block them all around. The patients had no pain from the procedure, but they left and had an hour and a half of numbness. They couldn’t talk well. They couldn’t eat. It wasn’t ideal.
Now, almost all the companies in the United States have mixed their hyaluronic acid with lidocaine, and it’s a much better way to do things. Patients don’t get a full dental block. What we do is we put topical anesthetic on, and we let it sit for a little bit. Then we inject a little bit of filler into the lip, and we inject through the anesthetized area. So if the practitioner is good, they put a little bit in, they put a little more in, and the procedure gets less and less uncomfortable as we go on.
Will my lips hurt or be swollen after the procedure?
If you go to a practitioner that understands all this, you should be able to get your lips done with very minimal discomfort and swelling. You will not have any pain after, because you’ll have a little bit of local anesthesia. It won’t last so long to get in the way of eating, but it will do its job to keep you anesthetized and without pain during the procedure, and for a little bit afterwards — until you get the ice on and maybe take a Tylenol. So this is a really important thing. Occasionally I still get the patient that comes to me and says, “I’m really anxious. Can you do a dental block?” And for me, a dental block is easy and most practitioners should know how to do this, and if not, they ought to learn how to do it. It’s a pretty easy thing to anesthetize the infraorbital nerve and the mental nerve and make the entire area numb.
Have questions about lip fillers?
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About Dr. Jonathan Sykes
Dr. Jonathan Sykes is a world-famous expert plastic surgeon who performs all cosmetic and functional plastic surgery procedures on the face and neck. He is a past president of The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and served on their Board of Directors for over 10 years. He is also a Professor Emeritus in Facial Plastic Surgery from UC Davis Medical Center, and the former Director of Facial Plastic Surgery at that institution. He is known as the expert’s expert, and is often called to consult and advise other plastic surgeons in both Northern California and Beverly Hills. He has a special interest in eyelid and browlift surgery, and facial rejuvenation surgery, including facelifts and rhinoplasty.