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How to Manage Post-Filling Numbness

One of the worst parts about having dental work done for most patients is the dreaded numbness that lingers long after your appointment is over. Novocaine is a local anesthetic drug that many dentists use for minor procedures and works by blocking the nerves in your body from sending pain signals to your brain.

Keep reading to learn exactly how long you can expect to be feeling the effects of Novocaine and ways to have the numbness wear off faster.

What Is Novocaine Used For?

Novocaine is a specific brand of a local anesthetic drug that dentists typically use to numb a specific part of a patient’s body for minor procedures. Unlike general anesthesia, local anesthetics don’t make you lose consciousness so you will be awake and aware of what is happening around you while having a procedure performed.

Typically Novocaine is used for minor procedures including:

How Long Does Novocaine Last?

Patients who have been administered Novocaine typically begin to feel the effects of Novocaine after 5 to 10 minutes after being injected. The numbing sensation typically lasts for 30 to 60 minutes, making Novocaine the shortest-acting injectable anesthetic which is why it’s so commonly used.


Since Novocaine by itself has a very short numbing duration, it’s often combined with epinephrine, which is a type of adrenaline, to make the numbing effects last longer. Administered with epinephrine, Novocaine will have numbing effects that last roughly 90 minutes, and can vary slightly from patient to patient.

Rules To Follow After Anaesthetic

After you have had Novocaine, your mouth will typically feel numb for 1-3 hours, and there are a few rules that are important to follow until the anesthetic wears off.

  1. Do not chew on the numb side of your mouth as there is a danger of biting your tongue, inner cheek or lips and not knowing it.
  2. Be cautious drinking hot drinks as you will be unable to tell if the temperature is too hot and could burn your mouth.
  3. Observe a child closely until the anesthetic wears off so they are not playing with the numb area.
  4. Once your mouth is no longer numb, check your bite for any imbalances that need to be adjusted.
  5. If you had silver fillings, do not chew directly on the new fillings for the first 24 hours.
  6. White fillings allow you to chew immediately after the numbness is gone.

Can I Make My Numbness Wear Off Faster?

Even though Novocaine is great during dental procedures because it allows patients to have procedures done without experiencing any pain, having half of your face numb for hours after a procedure is something everyone dreads. A quick Google search will more than likely leave you with these top tricks to make Novocaine wear off faster:

  1. Engage in approved physical activity to increase blood flow
  2. Gently massage the area experiencing numbness
  3. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water

Do any of these tricks work? Unfortunately, these tricks will likely leave you tired, salty, and still with a numb mouth.

Is the Idea Of Novocaine Giving You Dental Anxiety?

The best, most effective way to decrease dental anxiety over the fear of being numb is to communicate with your dentist before having any anesthetic administered. If you have an event that evening, or something else going on that will be seriously impacted by numbness, let your dentist know. They can always give you more novocain, but can’t take back shots that have already been administered. So tell them that you’d like to start with mild numbing, and will let them know if you’re experiencing discomfort during the filling so that they can provide another shot.


Your dentist is there to help you and provide a positive experience!


If you’re feeling anxious over a dose of anesthetic, let Tompkins Dental know when you come in for your procedure and we will do everything possible to have you leave with the least amount of numbness as possible while also having a pain-free experience.

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