It’s quite common and expected that when you have a tooth filled or extracted, the dentist will use medications to numb the area and ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. If you’ve never had a procedure that required numbing, you may be nervous because you don’t know what to expect. Fortunately, with a better understanding of how numbing medications make you feel, you can feel more at ease about any impending procedures.
Things to keep in mind
Knowing that you need a filling, extraction or other dental procedure that requires numbing can be stressful, but the purpose of numbing is so that you don’t feel anything during the procedure. Every patient is different so numbing may affect you more or less than other people, and this doesn’t mean that there’s anything to worry about. The medication given during certain dental treatments may cause numbness in both your face and head, but this isn’t cause for concern. Other elements to be aware of during numbing include:
- There’s less numbness for upper tooth extraction than lower tooth extraction
- The dentist can numb upper teeth individually, so there’s less overall numbness
- The dentist can numb upper teeth in blocks or sections for larger treatment areas
- For lower teeth numbing, half of your lip and tongue on the side of treatment will go numb
It’s common and normal to experience numbness in your nose, cheek and the side of your head during a dental procedure because of how all the nerves in your face and head are connected. For a tooth extraction, it’s common for the entire side of your head to feel numb, and this doesn’t indicate a problem. The dentist wants to make sure that you’re comfortable and pain-free when removing a tooth.
When numbing wears off
Dental numbing usually wears off within a few hours. The length of time numbing lasts depends on what anesthetics the dentist used and where treatment occurred in the mouth. Generally speaking, though, feeling should return within 2-4 hours. You may have trouble speaking normally, eating or drinking while numb, but once sensation routines, you will be fine. If you don’t think numbing will be enough to calm your nervousness or you have dental anxiety, ask your dentists about sedation dentistry.
At Creative Dental, we encourage you to discuss any concerns you have about numbing and other aspects of dental treatments. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible during all procedures, and we put your oral health needs first.