How Long Does Dental Anesthesia Last?

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How long does dental anesthesia last? Factors such as anaesthesia type, patient health, and lifestyle choices can all have an impact on its long-term effects. With our expert advice, you can ensure a quick and easy recovery.

Dental anaesthesia is an important component of modern dentistry because it allows patients to have a pain-free and stress-free experience during dental procedures. It is a medication that is used to numb the sensation in the mouth in order to make dental treatments more comfortable and effective. When undergoing dental procedures, it is critical to consider the duration of dental anaesthesia. Understanding how long it takes can help to ensure a successful procedure, reduce potential risks, and give the patient peace of mind. The goal of this article is to provide a comprehensive guide to dental anaesthesia duration and the factors that influence it. Understanding the duration of dental anaesthesia is a critical step in ensuring a smooth and successful experience, whether you are scheduled for a routine cleaning or a complex dental procedure.

Factors influencing the duration of dental anesthesia

There are many different factors that can influence how long anesthetic medication lasts, as well as how long it takes to wear off after the procedure. For example, some dental procedures require heavier a heavier use of anaesthesia than others:

Anaesthesia method used

One of the most important factors influencing the duration of dental anaesthesia is the type of anaesthesia used. Different types of anaesthesia have different effects on the body, and their duration can vary accordingly. Local anaesthesia, for example, typically lasts a few hours, whereas general anaesthesia may last several hours or even the next day.

Anaesthesia dosage and administration

The anaesthesia dosage and administration method also influence how long it lasts. The duration of anaesthesia is affected by both the amount of medication used and the method by which it is administered. Injecting a larger dose of anaesthesia into the mouth, for example, will typically result in a longer duration of its effects than a smaller dose.

Patient’s age, weight, and medical history

The duration of dental anaesthesia can also be influenced by the patient’s age, weight, and medical history. Older people and those with certain medical conditions, for example, may metabolise the medication more slowly, resulting in a longer duration of anaesthesia.

Dental procedure

The type of dental procedure performed can also influence the length of dental anaesthesia. Longer-acting anaesthesia may be required for more complex and lengthy procedures, whereas shorter and less invasive procedures may only require a few hours of local anaesthesia.

These are just a few of the many variables that can influence the length of dental anaesthesia. You can ensure that you receive the appropriate type and dose of anaesthesia for your specific needs by understanding these factors and working closely with your dental professional.

Different types of dental anaesthesia

One of the reasons it is impossible to give a one-size-fits-all answer as to how long dental anaesthesia lasts is that there are many different types of dental anesthesia.

Topical anesthetic

Most dental practices sue a topical anesthetic to prepare the injection site before you receive an injection of local anesthetic.

Topical anesthesia usually takes the form of an ointment or gel that is applied directly onto the treatment area. It is very short lasting, but it creates a mild numbing sensation and helps alleviate the pain of the needle going in.

Local anesthetic

The most common type of dental anesthesia is local anaesthesia. It is used to numb a specific area of the mouth, allowing the dentist to perform minor procedures on the patient without causing pain or discomfort.

The duration of local anesthesia is typically 2-4 hours.

Local anesthesia examples include lidocaine, mepivacaine, and bupivacaine.

Conscious sedation

A type of anaesthesia used to help patients relax and feel less anxious during dental procedures is conscious sedation.

Conscious sedation typically lasts between one and four hours.

Oral sedatives, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and intravenous (IV) sedation are examples of conscious sedation.

General anesthesia

For more complex and invasive dental procedures, such as major extractions or oral surgery, general anaesthesia is used.

The duration of general anaesthesia can range from several hours to the next day.

Propofol, etomidate, and barbiturates are examples of general anaesthesia.

It is important to note that the duration of dental anaesthesia can vary greatly between patients and even between procedures. That is why, in order to determine the best type of anaesthesia for you, it is critical to discuss your specific needs and concerns with your dental professional.

Factors that prolong or shorten the duration of dental anesthesia

Eating and drinking

Eating and drinking before an upcoming dental procedure can shorten the duration of anaesthesia. Certain foods and beverages, such as alcohol, can cause the medication to metabolise faster, resulting in a shorter duration of anaesthesia. Fasting before a procedure, on the other hand, can slow the metabolism of the medication, extending its effects.

Smoking and tobacco use

Smoking and tobacco use can both shorten the duration of dental anaesthesia. Nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco products can hasten medication metabolism, resulting in a shorter duration of anaesthesia.


The duration of dental anaesthesia can also be affected by the use of certain medications or supplements. Some medications, such as blood thinners, can, for example, affect how the body metabolises the medication, resulting in a longer or shorter duration of its effects.

Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety levels can also influence the duration of dental anaesthesia. When a patient is stressed or anxious, their body may metabolise the medication more quickly, resulting in the medication’s effects lasting less time. Feeling calm and relaxed, on the other hand, can slow down the metabolism of the medication, extending its effects.

Prior to a procedure, you should always ddiscuss any medications, supplements, or lifestyle factors that may affect the duration of dental anaesthesia with your dentist.

Recovery after dental procedures using dental anaesthesia

It is normal to experience numbness, tingling, or swelling in the treated area for several hours after receiving dental anaesthesia. It is critical to avoid eating, drinking, or smoking during this time because these activities can cause injury to the treated area. Some patients may also experience minor side effects such as nausea or headache.

Recovery tips

It is recommended to rest, stay hydrated, and avoid activities that may cause injury to the treated area to ensure a quick and smooth recovery after dental anaesthesia. To alleviate any discomfort, over-the-counter pain relievers can be used. Sometimes, it can help if you apply a warm compress to the numbed area, as this can help get the blood flow going and make the aesthetic wear off faster.

When to contact a dental professional

If you experience any severe or long-lasting side effects after receiving dental anaesthesia, such as prolonged numbness, swelling, or difficulty breathing, you should contact your dentist right away. They can offer advice and determine whether additional medical attention is required.

Ultimately, understanding the duration of dental anaesthesia and the factors that can influence it is critical for a stress-free dental experience. If you have any questions or concerns about your dental procedure, please contact your dental professional for assistance.

Last thoughts on dental anesthetic

It is always a good idea to take an active role in your dental care, so if you are due to have a dental procedure which requires anaesthesia, make sure you bring up any questions or concerns with your dentist beforehand.


Q: How long does it take for dental anesthesia to wear off?

A: The duration of dental anaesthesia depends on a variety of factors, including the type of anaesthesia used, the dose and method of administration, and the patient’s age, weight, and medical history. Local anaesthesia can last several hours to several days on average, while conscious sedation can last several hours.

Q: Why is my mouth still numb 24 hours after dental work?

A: If your mouth is still numb 24 hours after dental work, the type of anaesthesia used and the dose administered may be to blame. It is also possible that factors such as food and drink consumption, smoking and tobacco use, medications and supplements, and stress and anxiety levels have prolonged the anaesthesia.

If you are concerned about the duration of your dental anaesthesia, you should consult with your dentist. Based on your specific needs and medical history, they can provide personalised information and recommendations.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.