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Keywords:

  • blood pressure;
  • heart rate;
  • local anesthesia;
  • stress

Changes in mean heart rate and mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure are induced by both the patient's anticipation of scheduled treatment and the actual dental treatment itself. Significant changes have been observed before application of a local anesthetic, during restorative treatment, during extractions, and when epinephrine-impregnated retraction cords were used. These cardiovascular responses may vary according to the local anesthetic used and the choice of vasoconstrictor. The individual changes in heart rate and blood pressure are affected by pain and such individual factors as age, gender, hypertension, dental experience, and psychological responses. Although for the most part the cardiovascular changes induced by dental treatment are limited and within the normal physiological variation, this review stresses the importance of eliminating pain and minimizing patient anxiety.