What You Need To Know About Getting Your Mouth Numb at the Dentist

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numbing at the dentist

Before undergoing any dental procedures, it is good to know what to expect from getting your mouth numbed for pain control. Dental Anesthesiology has been important and used since the 1840s, and has evolved from the days of simply utilizing nitrous oxide and ether. The American Dental Association expects dentsists to complete training in accordance with their guidelines.

There are two kinds of dental numbing injections (Local Dental Anesthesia). A block injection will numb a broad area of the mouth, and an infiltration injection will numb a smaller portion, such as a tooth that will need a filling.  Both types of dental numbing are forms of local anesthesia and are administered by a dental professional when necessary as a part of our advanced dental care.  In both cases, the pain management injections are typically given in the patient’s gums.

Dental numbing is different from sedation dentistry or conscious sedation, which involve a different form of sedative that is a broader form of anesthetic.  Sedation dentistry is used when the patient feels a lot of dental anxiety around their dental health, dental procedures, or getting a numbing shot in their gums.

If you have any questions or concerns about getting your mouth numb at the dentist, contact our dentistry staff to ask more detailed questions. Our team of professional dentists can help craft the perfect smile and help you feel at ease if you’re nervous about getting your mouth numb at the dentist.

numbing-dentist

What to Expect When Getting Your Mouth Numb at the Dentist

If you need local anesthesia for your dental treatment, for tooth extractions, fillings, or other oral surgery, the first step is to dry part of your mouth with air or cotton.

Then the dentist will swab the area with a lidocaine gel to numb the skin. When the dentist slowly injects the dental syringe of local anesthetic, most people don’t feel the needle. Instead, the slight sting most patients feel is the sensation of the anesthetic moving into the tissue and anesthetizing the nerve.

A local anesthesia injection can last for a few hours. After the appointment, you might find it hard to speak openly or adequately eat your food. Drinking from a straw will probably be messy, and you’ll need to be careful you don’t bite down on the numb area. If you’re not cautious, especially while eating, you could hurt yourself without noticing it.

How Long Does Dental Anesthesia Last?

According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, after being administered, anesthesia can stay in your system for up to 24 hours even if the numbing effects wear off. Drinking alcohol is not recommended for at least a day. This could interfere with your ability to operate heavy machinery, drive a car, watch children and make important decisions. Drinking while you’re on anesthesia can also sometimes cause respiratory problems, and your risk of breathing complications could go up.

Dentist Numbing Shot Side Effects

Luckily, dental numbing shot adverse effects are infrequent. A blood-filled swelling, or hematoma, is standard, but it is not life-threatening. It can happen when the injection needle hits a blood vessel. A less severe adverse reaction from the numbing shot is that it can sometimes cause numbness outside of the injection site and the affected area.

If this occurs, your eyelid or mouth can droop, but don’t worry; this will alleviate itself when the numbing shot wears off. The needle can also sometimes injure a nerve, which can lead to numbness and pain for several months or weeks.

However, the nerve typically heals over time, and there are no lasting side effects to worry about.

numbing

Dental Numbness Aftercare

After undergoing dental local anesthesia or general anesthesia, you’ll be taken to a recovery room. Local anesthesia doesn’t usually require a recovery area because the recovery is typically briefer and spent in the dental chair.

As you heal from your dental procedure, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Bleeding is normal. If you had dental surgery to remove wisdom teeth, be assured that some bleeding the day after are perfectly normal. Try not to spit too much too because you don’t want to dislodge the blood clot from the socket. Also, make sure to replace your gauze over the extraction site.
  • You may be able to manage the pain after your dental work with an over-the-counter pain control option such as Tylenol, or a topical analgesic gel such as benzocaine, but you may require a prescription pain medication from your dentist. Prescription pain medication is generally given if a bone has been removed during the procedure.
  • Holding an ice pack against your jaw may also alleviate pain and discomfort after dental treatments.
  • If you’re dealing with swelling and bruising, use an ice pack for as long as the dentist recommends. If your cheeks are swelling, this usually gets better in two or three days. However, bruising may take a few more days to heal.
  • Plan to rest and take it easy for the rest of the day after your procedure. Avoid strenuous activity that could loosen the blood clot from the socket for at least a week.
  • Drink a lot of water after the surgery and avoid alcoholic, carbonated, caffeinated, or hot beverages for a day after the surgery. Also, avoid drinking from a straw for at least a week because the sucking action could also dislodge the blood clot from the socket.

Getting your mouth numb at the dentist for the first time can seem scary and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be if you’re prepared. If you have any lingering questions or apprehensions about getting your mouth numb, contact our Greensboro office today, and we’ll address your concerns in any way we can.

Our team of professional dentists is here to help craft the perfect smile, and our professional staff will help you maintain your dental hygeine and make you feel relaxed and comfortable about getting your mouth numb at the dentist.

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