Novocaine is a marvel of modern dentistry. It’s hard to imagine undergoing a dental procedure without it. But afterward, the numbness seems to take forever to wear off. A numb lip or face can make it hard to go back to work or school. And good luck if you want to take a swig of your favorite iced beverage! Chances are you’ll end up wearing most of it.
“Fortunately, these effects are only temporary and usually disappear in about two hours.
What is novocaine?
Novocaine is a local anesthetic that targets a specific area of your body. It causes numbness in that area but doesn’t put you to sleep. Novocaine works by blocking the nerves that carry pain signals to your brain.
Your dentist may give you novocaine for fillings, root canals, tooth, extractions, and oral surgery procedures.
Local anesthesia is administered by a needle. Just before the injection, it’s common for the dentist to spread a topical anesthetic on your gum to numb it. You may still feel a slight pinch or some pressure, but the needles are very thin, so it’s usually easier and less painful than, for example, getting a vaccine.
The anesthesia takes effect quickly, usually within one to two minutes. Depending on the location of the injection, you may lose feeling in your lips, cheek or face. Cue the drooling and half-smile selfies! As the medication wears off, the numbness may turn into a tingling sensation. These effects should go away within two hours.