Perhaps you’ve just completed a dental procedure and are feeling numb from the anesthetic. Or do you have an upcoming dental procedure? Local anesthetics are injected into your gum tissue to numb the area around your teeth.
The anesthetic usually wears off within a few hours, but sometimes it can linger and cause numbness. Here are a few things you can do to help reduce the numbness and get back to feeling yourself faster.
1. Learn How Long You Should Wait
If you’ve just had a dental procedure, it’s normal you’ll have some numbness in the treated area. Generally, the numbness approximately wears off after three to five hours, but other factors can affect how long it takes for the anesthetic to dissipate.
For instance, if you had a deep cleaning or a large filling placed, it may take longer for the numbness to go away. The size, depth, and location of your injections also play a role in how long the numbness lasts. Injections closer to your lips and nose tend to result in more numbness than injections near your back molars.
2. Wiggle Your Jaw and Tongue
If you still feel numb after four hours have passed, try moving your tongue around in your mouth and wiggling your jaw. Gently move your jaw in every direction you can think of, including up and down, left and right, in a circle, and anywhere else. This can help stimulate blood flow and speed up the process of the anesthesia wearing off.
3. Give Your Lips and Cheeks a Massage
Gently rubbing your lips and cheeks can also help increase blood flow and get rid of numbness. Use your fingers with little pressure to massage in small circles, going both clockwise and counterclockwise. You can also try tapping your fingers on your lips and cheeks to stimulate them.
Don’t massage the place where you received the injection or any location that is too close to your mouth or you could risk damaging your teeth or gums.
4. Move Your Tongue From One Side to the Other
Moving your tongue from one side to the other can help relieve numbness by activating your facial nerves. Try moving your tongue from one side of your mouth to the other, and then back again. Repeat this process several times for around 5 minutes until you start to feel some relief. This will make the numbness go away more quickly.
5. Apply a Warm Compress
Applying a warm compress to your face can also help reduce numbness. The heat will increase blood flow and help the anesthesia dissipate more quickly. Use a warm, wet cloth or a heating pad set on low and apply it to your cheeks for 5-10 minutes at a time. You can do this every hour until the numbness goes away.
6. Distract Yourself
If you’re still feeling numb after trying all of the above methods, try to distract yourself from the sensation by focusing on something else. Watch TV, take a nap, read a book, or talk to someone. The more you focus on the numbness, the longer it will take for it to go away.
7. Have Patience
It’s important to have patience when waiting for the numbness to go away. Don’t drink hot beverages or eat spicy foods until the anesthesia has completely worn off, as you could risk burning or irritating your mouth.
8. Consult Your Dentist If the Numbness Doesn’t Go Away
Keep in mind that numbness after dental work is natural and should get rid of within a few hours by its own. However, you need to consult your dentist if you’re concerned about the numbness, if it gets worse, or if it doesn’t go away.
I hope this article helped you understand how long numbness will get rid of after dental work and give you some tips on how to make it go away quickly. Remember to be patient and give the anesthesia time to wear off, and ask your dentist if the numbness doesn’t dissipate after a few hours.