How Long Does Novocaine Last?
Posted April 6, 2020 by Dr. Brian Evans
If you’ve ever had a dental procedure such as a filling or root canal, chances are you’ve experienced the odd sensation of novocaine numbness. While novocaine can help you not feel anything during treatment, the side effects can be annoying. But just how long do you have to deal with not being able to feel your face? Your dentist in Reno has the answer.
What is Novocaine?
Novocaine is a local anesthetic that dentists administer with a tiny needle. It’s used to numb the tooth and area where your dentist is treating and is really good at making almost any dental treatment comfortable and pain-free. Essentially, novocaine blocks our nerves from sending pain signals to the brain so we don’t feel a thing.
Side Effects of Novocaine
The most common side effect of novocaine is the unmistakable numbness in your face, lips, or even tongue. More on that in a bit. But there are lesser-known side effects that you should know about including:
- Muscle Twitching
There are also some very rare, yet very serious, possible side effects if someone is allergic to novocaine such as difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, itchiness, and anaphylaxis. If you experience any of these side effects, go to the nearest emergency room and notify your dentist in Reno.
How Long Does Novocaine Last?
As promised, let’s talk more about the most common side effect of novocaine — numbness. Naturally, you will experience some numbness when you receive novocaine. But you may also experience numbness long after you leave the dental chair. While the duration of the numbness depends on a variety of things such as the individual person and how much is used, usually you’ll feel numb anywhere from one to five hours.
Are There Ways to Make the Numbness Wear Off Faster?
We understand that the numbness associated with novocaine can be annoying. After all, you can’t speak properly, you have trouble chewing, and everything you drink seems to drip out of your mouth. But personally, we think the comfort you have during your dental treatment is worth this temporary annoyance. However, if you’re someone who finds the lingering numbness unbearable, there may be some things you can try to help it go away faster. But be sure to talk with your dentist in Reno before trying any of the tips below.
- Get Moving. One way to help burn off the novocaine and regain feeling is to increase blood flow. And the best way to do that is to get moving. Go for a walk, play a sport, or take a bike ride or easy jog.
- Apply Heat. Another way to increase blood flow directly to the affected area and, in turn, ease the numbness is to apply heat. A moist, warm compress may do the trick. Just make sure not to apply heat directly to the skin.
- Massage. Lastly, gently massaging the cheek or area where you feel numb can also increase blood flow and decrease numbness. However, don’t try this if you have pain or swelling. Also, don’t massage the treated area directly and always wash your hands before touching your face, lips, or mouth.
Please note that, unfortunately, there is no official way to make the weird feeling of numbness disappear quickly, but some patients have found the above methods helpful.
The numbness associated with novocaine is temporary, but your dental health is with you for a lifetime. Don’t let a fear of pain or discomfort keep you from getting the treatment you need. There are many ways we can help minimize pain, fear, and anxiety. Just talk to us, we’re here to help!