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Patient in chair for dental numbing in Parker, CO

Certain dental procedures require the use of anesthesia in order to numb the area around the teeth and gums where work is to be done. It is very common for a numbing, tingling feeling to remain even after the procedure is complete.


How long does dental numbing last? Typically, the numbness wears off within a few hours after the procedure is complete.  In some cases, patients may experience prolonged numbing for up to one or two days. Remember, everyone is different and reacts differently to numbing medications.


Dental Procedures That Require Numbing

Numbing is not required for standard cleanings but if you are going to the dentist for a more elaborate procedure, numbing may be required or used to make the process more comfortable for you as your dentist is working on your mouth. Numbing reduces your sensitivity, which allows work to be done while you relax. Here is a list of common procedures where numbing is required:

Cavity Fillings

A cavity is caused when your tooth develops a hole and begins decaying. The decaying process can be stopped by using a material to fill the hole, restoring normal function, and strengthening your bite. Your dentist can use simple local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth where the cavity will be cleaned out, filled, and polished so that you are back to your normal, healthy smile in no time.


When a tooth shows damage caused by fracture, chip, cavity, or tooth decay, one option is a dental crown. This allows you to keep your tooth and its roots, which brings many benefits for the future of your dental health. Your dentist will make an impression of your tooth so that the crown can be custom-made to fit the space. Once the crown is made, an adhesive is used to bond it to your natural tooth. Local anesthesia can make this process more comfortable.

Root Canal

Sometimes a tooth becomes infected, damaging the pulp and nerve of the tooth, which causes a tremendous amount of pain. A root canal can be done to restore an infected, decayed, or damaged tooth into a healthier one. The damaged pulp and root of the tooth are removed, medicated, and sealed. A dental crown should be placed to protect and strengthen the tooth. Local anesthesia is necessary to make this procedure more comfortable.

Tooth Extractions

It is important to try every option before deciding to have a tooth extraction. However, sometimes removing a tooth is necessary. In most cases, tooth removal, or extraction, is a very quick outpatient procedure. Numbing the area where the tooth must be removed significantly decreases the pain and discomfort that a patient may feel.

How Will My Dentist Numb My Mouth?

There are two commonly used types of numbing injections used by dentists. Block injections will be used if an entire region, for example, the bottom jaw, of your mouth needs to be numb. An infiltration injection can numb a much smaller area. With either of these local anesthesia options, your dentist will dry the part of your mouth to be worked on with either cotton or air. Once dry, a numbing gel may be applied to decrease the feeling of an injection. Very rarely do patients feel the injection. Most people experience a sting if they feel anything at all.

Gum Disease Treatment

Gum disease can be caused by poor hygiene, allowing plaque to form on teeth and lead to the inflammation of gum tissue. It is so important to treat gum disease as it may lead to other diseases or complications due to bacteria entering the bloodstream. This condition is treatable if caught early. Interventions include restorative dentistry, such as scaling and root planning, pocket reduction procedure, gum grafts, or a regenerative procedure. In some cases, anesthesia and numbing agents may be used.

Why Do People Experience Different Levels of Numbness or Prolonged Numbing?

Your experience with a numbing agent, anesthesia, or Novocain is as unique as you are. We all have different thresholds for pain, and we all react differently to medications. There are many factors that play into your length of numbness. Age, health, and body chemistry are three contributing factors. Talk with your dentist prior to your procedure to share your medical history and experience, if any, with anesthetics.

How Can You Manage the Numbing Sensation?

Tingling, numb sensations can grow into an annoying, nuisance of a situation once your procedure is home. Remembering that this is temporary and that it prevents you from feeling pain for some time is helpful, especially if you are beginning to feel anxious. Some grounding exercises that can divert the numbing sensation include:

  • Sucking on ice cubes or ice chips to promote circulation.
  • Massage your lips and gums to stimulate circulation.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to flush the numbing agent.

If you are experiencing discomfort due to numbness for longer than your dentist advised, contact your dentist or doctor to be sure that things are healing and progressing as they should be.

Do Dentists Always Use Numbing Agents?

The answer here is no! There are many routine procedures that a dentist can complete without requiring or even suggesting anesthesia. Here is a list of procedures that can be completed without a numbing agent:

  • Oral Exams
  • Cleaning
  • X-Rays
  • Impressions
  • Braces
  • Tooth Whitening

Signature Smiles Dentistry

Signature Smiles Dentistry is located in the community of Parker, Colorado. We love serving this community and its surrounding areas. Our warm, friendly environment is both knowledgeable and passionate about our work and caring for our patients. We have the latest technology and strive to provide personal, comfortable, safe, and effective treatments for each and every person that we serve. Our patients are our family, and we want you to feel right at home when you are here. Schedule a visit with our team at Signature Smiles Dentistry today! Call our office at (720) 722-3792 or contact us to book an appointment.