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Oral Health Topics

Anesthesia and Sedation

Color Coding of Local Anesthetic Cartridges

This color-coding system, adopted by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs in 2003, has been incorporated into ISO standard 11499, “Dentistry – Single-use cartridges for local anaesthetics.” Each single-use cartridge should have two indelible bands indicating the name and concentration of both the anesthetic ingredient (Table 1) and the vasoconstrictor (Table 2).

The tables below, which utilize the Pantone Matching System (PMS) for color identification, illustrate the appropriate colors for both ingredients. Although color-coding is a useful adjunct for anesthetic identification, it is prudent for dentists to read the labels of all drugs they administer.

Table 1. Local anaesthetic agent and concentration colors (Band 1)

 Product Band color (PMS)
Articaine - 4%
Gold
871

Gold
872
Gold
873

Gold
874

Gold
875

Bupivacaine - 0.5%
Blue
300
Blue
301

     
 Lidocaine - 2%  Red
185
Red
186
Red
199
Red
200
 
Lidocaine - 3%
 Purple
266
Purple
267
 


 
Mepivacaine - 2%
Brown
477

Brown
478

Brown
498

Brown
499

 
Mepivacaine - 3% Tan
406
Tan
407
Tan
408
   
Prilocaine - 3% Orange
136
Orange
137
     

Table 2. Vasoconstrictor and concentration colors (Band 2)

 Product Band color (PMS)
No vasoconstrictor
White None


Epinephrine
< 1:200 000

Yellow
108
Yellow
109
Yellow
110 
Yellow
115
Yellow
116 
Epinephrine
< 1:100 000 to 1:200 000

Orange
136 
Orange
137
     
Epinephrine
< 1:50 000 to 1:100 000

Brown
477

Brown
478

Brown
498

Brown
499

Epinephrine
1:50 000

Green
347

Green
348

Green
355

Green
356


Levonordefrin  Black None
     
Nor-epinephrine
1:100 000

Tan
406
 Tan
407 
Tan
408 
   
Nor-epinephrine
1:25 000

 Purple
266
Purple
267
 


 
 Octapressin (felypressin)
 Blue
300
Blue
301

     

ISO standard 11499 outlines additional criteria required of single-use cartridge labels applicable to size and placement of the colored bands:

  • Band 1 shall be 3.0 ± 0.5 mm wide and commence between 8 mm and 20 mm from the plunger end of the cartridge.
  • Band 2 shall be 1,5 ± 0,5mm wide and commence at (2 ± 0.5) mm from the cartridge disc end of Band 1.

A detailed diagram of a single-use cartridge can be found in Figure 1.

Diagram of the side of a human head indicating the locations of various regions of the oropharynx

Source: ISO standard 11499

 

ADA Resources

Prepared by: Center for Scientific Information, ADA Science Institute
Last Updated: January 29, 2019

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