How Long Does Dental Numbing Last

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Dental procedures can be anxiety-inducing for many individuals, but when you opt for local anesthesia, you can alleviate discomfort and possibly some of that anxiety.

In fact, whether you’re undergoing a routine dental filling or a more extensive procedure like a root canal or extraction, dental numbing can play a crucial role in ensuring you have a comfortable, pain-free experience.

While numbing agents are helpful, patients commonly ask, “How long does dental numbing last?” At Smile Ballard, we have the answer and would like to take a moment to share it with you. We aim to give you peace of mind about any upcoming dental treatment.

Understanding local anesthesia

Local anesthesia is a technique used by dentists to temporarily block pain in a specific area of the mouth during dental procedures.

The most common local anesthesia we use is lidocaine, which our dentist injects near the treatment site. Lidocaine works by blocking nerve signals in the area, effectively numbing it and preventing pain sensation.

Factors affecting numbing duration

The duration of the local anesthetic’s effects can vary depending on several factors, such as the following:

Type of anesthetic

The time it takes for an anesthetic to wear off varies by type. For instance, plain lidocaine typically lasts about one to two hours, while lidocaine with epinephrine (a vasoconstrictor) can extend the numbing effect to two to four hours.

Our Seattle dentist will choose the appropriate type of anesthetic based on the procedure and your specific needs.

 Site of injection

The location of the injection also plays a role in how long the numbing stays in effect. For example, areas with higher blood flow, such as the front of the mouth, may experience a shorter period of numbness compared to locations with lower blood flow, such as the back of the mouth.


Every individual’s body metabolizes anesthetics at a different rate. Factors like age, overall health, and metabolism can affect how quickly your body breaks down the anesthetic, ultimately impacting how long the numbing effect lasts.


The amount of anesthetic distributed can influence numbing duration. Our dentist will carefully calculate and administer the appropriate dosage based on the complexity of the procedure and your medical history.

Managing numbness after dental procedures

Once your dental procedure is complete, you must properly care for yourself as the numbing effect wears off. Here are a few tips to help you manage the numbness:

Avoid chewing

We advise you to refrain from eating until the numbness has completely worn off to prevent you from accidentally biting your tongue, cheek, or lips, which can lead to injuries.

Be cautious with hot beverages

Numbness can make it difficult to gauge the temperature of hot liquids. Take extra precautions to avoid burning your mouth by waiting until the numbness subsides before consuming hot beverages.

Maintain oral hygiene

Continue your regular oral hygiene routine by brushing and flossing gently. Be mindful of the numbness, as it may affect your ability to maneuver the toothbrush or floss effectively.

Avoid numbing remedies

While using over-the-counter numbing gels or remedies may be tempting, we recommend our patients avoid self-medication unless we specify otherwise.

Follow instructions carefully

We strongly urge you to communicate with our Seattle dentist about any concerns regarding pain during a procedure or the duration of numbness afterward. Open communication leads to the best results!

So now that you have the answer to “How long does dental numbing last,” why not schedule your appointment with Smile Ballard? The numbing is temporary, but the results from the treatment may last a lifetime!

Give us a call or send us a message today!

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While we’re happy to call “Emerald City” our home, we warmly welcome patients from the neighboring cities of Redmond, Kirkland, Bothell, Tacoma, Issaquah, Everett, and Bellevue.

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