View Full Version : Mead and Novocaine - Two positives do equal a negative?

12-14-2005, 02:23 PM
Something strange happened last week that I thought I would pass on for comment.

I had an appointment for a tooth drilling on Monday. No problems as I have had many fillings in my life (sweet tooth) and am very used to the pains involved. About an hour before the appointment, I was sitting reading the Compleat Meadmaker and enjoying a glass of Ancient Orange. I then proceeded to the dentists.

Once in the chair, the dentist injected me with the novocaine and left it for 5 minutes. He then gave me a booster shot and left it an additional 5. During the whole of this time, my lip and gums did not get numb. When I told him so, he injected me again. 5 minutes later, still felt the gum. An additional shot was given and 5 more minutes waited. Still no numbness. I told him to just drill, and hopefully the nensitivity was in my head.

Wrong! Shooting pain straight into the jaw. Funny thing was, he was only just drilling out an old filling and the pain was from the heat conducted to the nerve. In went another injection (the fifth!) and another 5 minutes waited. Still no numbness.

So, I am having the tooth dealt with today by a different dentist. I have never had this happen before. Always, in the past, the tooth has gone completely numb and the drilling has been painless.

Here's the question to be debated: Was the Mead counteracting the effects of the Novocaine?


12-14-2005, 02:41 PM
Here's the question to be debated: Was the Mead counteracting the effects of the Novocaine?

The question is: How badly do you want to test that theory? ;D

12-14-2005, 05:24 PM
Angus, two things occurr to me. One, the essential oil of orange, of which there is plenty in Joe's AOM because citrus fruit has plenty and it easily exudes off the rind - interfered with the anaesthetic. Caffeine will do the same in some individuals, and I'm one; if I drink a cuppa before visiting the dentist, I"m in trouble. If caffeine can do it, I think it's probable that other substances will do it as well.

Otherwise, maybe the anaesthetic was out of date, or had been kept in poor storage condtions, and deteriorated.

Did the other dentist's stuff work? And did you drink that mead before visiting him? Hope you don't mind my asking - inquiring minds sort of thing.


12-14-2005, 08:20 PM
I'm not a doctor, but I used to be a piercer. From that, I know that you should never drink alcohol before doing anything that involves needles. Your body will react differently to punctures or any sort of "wound" while alcohol is in your bloodstream, including excessive bleeding, bruising, etc. I don't know about the novocaine issue, but I'd never touch alcohol and then have dental work done.

12-14-2005, 08:57 PM
Other than the fact that Alcohol is listed as a substance that may impair the effectiveness of Novocaine... was the filling in the lower jaw? I have heard that the lower jaw can be much harder to numb as the nerves are much deeper than the upper and can in some cases be a quite a trial... evidently normal human variation in the lower jaw nerves can also play a role, the standard areas to inject for 99% of the population may miss the last 1% completely.


12-14-2005, 09:16 PM
My two cents,
I too am most definately NOT a doctor, but here are a few of my thoughts and vague recollections.
I happen to know from my own painfull experiences that a body can develop "immunity" to novocaine. That is entirely a possibility, especially if you have had novacaine used in the area of the body several times before.(Nothing quite like having a dentist inject novocaine many times only to seriously tell you that he could put down a rhino with the amount of novocaine in your jaw, yet still feeling MASSIVE pain when they drill.) One possibility.
I also am agreeing with Miriam and Abejita's comments about the needles-vs-alcohol, possible stale novocaine, and of course those ancient orange essential oils could have just plain eaten the novocaine.
Plus of course, its a full-ish moon out tonight.. hhoowwllll!!!
just philosphising and rambling some more..

12-14-2005, 09:34 PM
Next time just take the bottle along, if the injections fail, you can always get numb the old fashioned way, alas you wont be able to bite down on any leather, but the dentists arm should substitute nicely.

But on the serious side I found this

What drug(s) may interact with procaine? (Procaine is apparently Novocain)
•blood thinners such as warfarin
•certain drugs to treat depression called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as isocarboxacid and phenelzine
•medicines for high blood pressure
•medicines that improve muscle strength or tone, for conditions like myasthenia gravis
•sulfa drugs

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines that you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines

And interestingly enough “cocaine was the most commonly used local anesthetic” before procaine was discovered.

Perhaps just ask for a different drug? this site ahs basic information


12-15-2005, 03:32 AM
Thanks, Mu, I'm sure your reply has been/will be useful to many reading this thread.


Dan McFeeley
12-15-2005, 08:58 AM
Hello Angus --

I did some checking around -- Novocaine, also referred to as Procaine, is derived from cocaine, first developed in the 1800's in order to find a drug that was as effective as cocaine in blocking pain, but without the addictive properties. Novocaine was the first, and it is derived from cocaine.

That leads me to believe that it wasn't the mead. We see a lot of people in our ER, combining alcohol and cocaine, and the effects aren't canceled out. Since Novocaine is derived from cocaine, I would expect the same.

I'm also assuming you didn't go to the dentist's office dead drunk, so even if there was a counter effect from the alcohol, it shouldn't have been as strong as you reported.

Just a warning -- it's not a good idea to be drinking just before receiving an anesthetic. Cocaine and alcohol, when taken together, form a potent psychoactive cocktail called cocaethylene, with even greater cardiotoxic effects than cocaine alone (cocaine can cause coronary spasms, ventricular arrhythmyias). Given that novocaine is synthesized from cocaine, you might have been looking at a similar combination with whatever alcohol was still in your system.

Standard disclaimer -- none of the above qualifies as medical advice. If it was, I'd be sending you a nice big bill for services. ;D

12-15-2005, 09:53 AM
Thanks indeed, to all. The info is great. Yes, perhaps drinking the Mead an hour before the appointment was a duff move. Live and learn though.

As for biting down on the dentist's arm....... it was a finger, I was 7, and he slapped me. But that is a story for another time.


12-15-2005, 10:15 AM
That's OK Angus - I once punched a doctor in the face, twice. I had never punched *anyone* before, in my life, never have since. But I'm still happy I did it.


12-15-2005, 12:05 PM
That's OK Angus - I once punched a doctor in the face, twice. I had never punched *anyone* before, in my life, never have since. But I'm still happy I did it.


Why in the world did someone as genteel as you hit a doctor?

Curious minds need to know...


12-15-2005, 12:22 PM
Well, Pewter, this is more a chick than a guy story. I was busily trying to push a stubborn baby out. It was complicated and the room filled with personnel: midwives, assistants, the anaesthesiologist, I can't remember exactly how many doctors. The head of the ward approached my bed, arm bent to push down hard on my tummy with his forearm and so theoretically help push the baby down: but I didn't allow it. One of the things I've done in life is work as a doulah, and I know that procedure is horrifically painful, not very efficient, and most dangerous because it may cause the placenta to rupture, causing plenty gore and serious complications. (Actually it is illegal in the U.S.; don't know why they still allow it here.)

This was an old-fashioned man of the "Doctors are God" variety, but I wouldn't let him get near me. When he yanked me up the better to manhandle me, I punched him. He came back, determined to have it his way (especially in front of two colleagues, who were flabbergasted), and I - damn it - punched him again. He backed off, purple in the face and blowing steam. The midwives took care of me just fine, and the baby is now 8 1/2 years old.

Just for the record, Israel's infant and maternal mortality rate is lower than that of the U.S. - in spite of some doctors like that one.


12-15-2005, 12:57 PM

In this corner from Israel, she cooks, she writes, she cleans, she brews, she tends to her family and friends, in the west corner, wearing the Blue trunks . . . MIRIAM THE MAZING MEAD BUBBAH!

12-15-2005, 12:59 PM

I know it sounds evil to say it, but you kind of hope one day that the "doctor" in question gets a particularly large kidney stone and has someone else try to sit on him to help push it through. :o


12-15-2005, 01:26 PM

Having gone through a 16 hour labor with my wife for our first, I can appreciate the mood which led to your assault on that poor, innocent doctor... you are such a brute... you women all believe that just because you are essentially passing a bowling ball sized object, you have the right to be uncivilized... ;D ;D ;D

With a wink,

12-15-2005, 05:57 PM
Jeez, you guys made me laugh and blush... :-* Me, in blue shorts? You should live so long! Pink, hot pink is the color that irascible Mead Bubehs wear. ;D

...I am convinced that the sudden powerful rage and focus that filled me then, struggling in the welter of utmost pain and vulnerability, were given to me, to help me save my baby. When she finally came into the world, we saw that the umbilical chord was wrapped twice around her body, with a knot in it, and twice around her neck. If she had been pushed roughly from the outside - let me just say I would be tasting the bitter satisfaction of having won a major lawsuit. Happily, my husband and I rejoice in the miracle of a healthy daughter, instead.

And now I believe I'm going to step into the kitchen and pour myself a large glass of New Moon Mead.