Bupivacaine for Root Canal Treatment – Practitioner Behaviors and Patient Perspectives: Survey Studies

Ozge Erdogan, Sharon M. Casey, Nikita B. Ruparel, Asgeir Sigurdsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction and Objectives: Local anesthesia is essential in dentistry in providing intraoperative analgesia and anesthesia. However, knowledge related to its use for management of post-operative pain is limited. Perioperative pain management is especially important for root canal treatment (ie, endodontic therapy), performed by endodontists. In this study, we sought to better understand endodontists’ attitudes regarding the use of long-lasting anesthetic, namely 0.5% bupivacaine HCl with 1:200,000 epinephrine, for the management of post-endodontic pain. Additionally, we aimed to understand the perspectives of dental patients about receiving longer lasting anesthesia for endodontic therapy and to determine factors that affect their anesthetic preferences within the orofacial region. Methods: An email invitation to participate in an anonymous online survey was sent to members of the American Association of Endodontists. Also, 82 patients attending an in-person visit to an endodontic clinic were recruited to the study. Results: Data from 474 endodontic practitioners and 82 patients included in analysis. Among practitioners, the majority reported to either never (33.31%) or rarely (34.84%) using bupivacaine. Most chose “I don’t think I need it” (47%) and “patient discomfort because of longer duration of soft tissue anesthesia” (30.81%) as reasons for not preferring the use of bupivacaine. Of the practitioners who reported at least rare use, most chose bupivacaine for post-operative pain management (78.02%). Conversely, 52% of patients reported that they were likely/most likely to request long-lasting anesthetics for post-operative pain control. Conclusion: Bupivacaine is rarely used as a post-operative pain management strategy for endodontic therapy. Specifically, bupivacaine is not preferred not because of adverse events, toxicity, or slow onset concerns, but rather, because of longer duration of soft tissue anesthesia. However, our data suggest that patients may be willing to receive long-lasting anesthesia. Further patient-centered research should investigate the use of long-lasting anesthetic agents for management of post-endodontic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalLocal and Regional Anesthesia
StatePublished - 2022


  • Bupivacaine
  • Endodontics
  • Long lasting local anesthesia
  • Post-operative pain
  • Root canal treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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