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How Long Does Dental Numbing Last For?

Posted on 2/2/2024 by Janice K. Pliszczak, DDS
Image of a woman touching her cheek. When visiting the dentist, there is a likelihood of encountering a procedure - such as a root canal or dental implant - which may require the use of local anesthesia, like Novocaine. This anesthesia is used to numb the area around the tooth for 1 to 2 hours. Typically, the anesthesia will wear off within 30 to 60 minutes after the procedure. However, for the subsequent 3 to 5 hours, you may continue to feel numbness in the tongue, face, and lips, which prevents you from resuming normal activities such as eating and drinking.

What Factors Influence Anesthesia Duration?

Several factors affect how long the local anesthesia lasts. An injection alongside epinephrine may prolong its effect by an additional 30 minutes. As with any medication, the higher the dosage, the longer the numbing effect will last. The dosage administered may depend on the size of the area being treated, the number of nerves being numbed, and the type of procedure being performed. If the procedure is lengthy, a higher dosage will be required, whereas treating a simple filling may require a lesser dosage than a root canal treatment.

Anesthesia tolerance also varies from person to person, with some requiring a higher dosage than others. Additionally, certain medical conditions can affect how the body metabolizes the anesthesia, impacting its effectiveness. The presence of infection may necessitate a higher dosage of anesthesia, as higher acidic pH levels reduce the effectiveness of local anesthesia.

Accelerating the Wearing Off of Numbness

To make the numbness wear off faster, you can gently massage the area experiencing numbness but should avoid the site of injection. To aid the dissipation of numbness, rinse your mouth with salty water and engage in physical activities.


The duration of numbness following dental procedures varies based on various factors, including the type of anesthesia used, patient tolerance, and the specific dental procedure performed. Knowing these factors can help you manage your expectations and recover more effectively. For personalized advice or to schedule a consultation for your dental needs, please contact our office.

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Janice Pliszczak, DDS, 4827 Broad Road, Syracuse NY 13215 ^ (315) 800-5020 ^ ^ 7/21/2024 ^ Related Phrases: about us,dentist syracuse,janice pliszczak dds syracuse ny