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Dental Numbing: What to Know and What to Expect


The very thought of dental numbing is what calms people who are scared of the dentist. Without it, even the simplest of dental procedures would be unbearable. Though dental numbing makes the visit to the dentist pain free, its effects are often felt hours after the procedure has been completed.

This should be a good thing, since a person who is numb does not feel the discomfort that comes after a dental procedure. But some people do not like the after effects of anesthesia, while others have adverse reactions to it.

Is numbness after a dental procedure something that should worry you? And are there any side effects that come with the anesthetics? Let us find out.

What exactly is dental numbing?

It is the first step of a dental procedure where the dentist numbs the patient by administering a local or general anesthetic. With local anesthetics, the dentist first dries the gum and applies a topical numbing agent. Finally, the dentist injects the local anesthetic into the gum.

How the numbing agent works is best explained by reviewing the individual compounds that are in the drug.


The best-known anesthetic is Lidocaine, but there are many other kinds in use. In general, numbing agents are made up of five components:

The individual components of the numbing agent can have different effects on different patients.


Depending on the dental procedure, the dentist can sedate a patient in several ways: They can use a pill, laughing gas, a topical gel or inject an anesthetic into the gum. They can also administer general anesthetic intravenously.

The method used to numb the patient will determine the after effects of the numbing:

1. Depending on where it is injected, a local anesthetic can cause localized numbness or numbness of the whole mouth, causing the lips, cheeks, tongue and gums to feel strange.

2. In some cases, the drug may cause the eyelids and cheek muscles to relax and stop working as they should. These symptoms go away as the drug wears off.

A dental implant may require more numbing than a filling, so how long the numbness lasts depends on the dental procedure. It also depends on the type and amount of anesthetic used and how fast the body metabolizes the anesthetic.

The numbness could last anywhere from an hour to five hours.


Numbness is normal after a procedure, and the best thing to do is wait it out. Here are other ways to deal with it:

1. A person will not be able to feel pain and may injure themselves. For this reason, they should wait before eating to avoid biting themselves.

2. A person should also avoid work and social situations that will require them to talk or eat. Both of these activities will be difficult to do.

3. Some people are allergic to particular kinds of anesthetics. If a person feels an allergic reaction occurring, they should seek medical attention.

4. If the numbness has not worn off after six or seven hours, the patient should get the drug counteracted by the dentist or a medical professional. This is sometimes done with a different drug that dilates the veins narrowed by the initial drug.


Not only is it normal, dental numbing is welcomed by patients while the gum recovers from a procedure. Numbness only becomes something to worry about if it lasts too long or triggers a bad reaction. In such a case, a person should see a dentist or a doctor immediately. Schedule a consultation with one of our dentists to learn more about dental numbing.


For more information or to schedule an appointment with Sendero Dental Studio, request an appointment in our Rancho Mission Viejo dental office here: Or call us at (949) 204-3761.

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