“Before I got a filling for a cavity, the dentist gave me a local anesthetic. The numbness didn’t go away for 4 hours. Is this normal?” -Allison F. San Antonio, TX.
WHAT IS A LOCAL ANESTHETIC?
First, let’s talk about what a local anesthetic is and how it affects your mouth. The most common local anesthetic is called lidocaine. It causes a loss of feeling in the skin and your mucous membranes. The numbness allows patients to stay awake during a procedure, enabling your dentist to work their magic to fix your teeth.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS?
You shouldn’t feel any pain during your procedure after the local anesthetic is injected into your mouth. However, you still may feel pressure at the site of your cavity as your dentist is removing the decay. It’s totally normal to experience tingling or minor pain around the injected site after the procedure. It’s rare for a person to have serious side effects. If you experience these symptoms, contact a doctor immediately:
- allergic reaction (trouble breathing, lips/tongue/face swells up or hives)
- chest pain , slow or irregular heartbeats
“Before you get any dental procedure, let us know exactly what medications you are taking,” warns Dr. Jason Kboudi, Advanced Smile Care. “There are prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications that may put your health at a heightened risk if you are receiving a local anesthetic. We want your procedure to be safe and comfortable. That’s why we ask if you are taking any medication.”
HOW LONG WILL NUMBNESS LAST?
The numbness from your local anesthetic may last a few hours and perhaps as long as 24 hours. In very rare situations, the effect of lidocaine can last up to two days.
If you are wary about getting a local anesthetic, Advanced Smile Care offers four customized options that are not only safe, but also effective to ensure our procedures are comfortable: nitrous oxide (laughing gas); oral sedation, IV sedation and general anesthesia.
Advanced Smile Care has a track record of more than 20 years of providing sedation dentistry. We started working in this field at a time when many dental practices in San Antonio did not offer these services. We have helped thousands of patients get over their fears of the dentist with our top-tier sedation expertise.