How Long Does Dental Freezing Last?

How Long Does Dental Freezing Last? written over a sky blue background


Dental procedures often involve the use of dental freezing to ensure a pain-free experience for patients. Have you ever wondered how long this numbing effect lasts? Let’s dive into the details.

What is dental freezing?

Dental freezing, also known as local anesthesia, is a common practice in dentistry to numb specific areas during dental procedures. In the past, before the advent of advanced anesthesia methods, dentists used various techniques to alleviate pain, which were often less effective and more discomforting.

Also Read: Top 10 Windsor Dental Clinics.

What was used before dental freezing?

Before the introduction of dental freezing, dentists utilized various methods to alleviate pain during procedures. Here’s a list of things that were commonly used:

  1. Herbal Remedies:
    • Dentists would sometimes employ natural extracts from herbs to numb the targeted area and reduce pain.
  2. Alcohol:
    • In certain cases, alcohol was used as a pain-relieving agent during dental treatments.
  3. Physical Restraint:
    • Patients were occasionally physically restrained to minimize movement and make the procedure more manageable.

However, these methods weren’t as effective or comfortable as the modern techniques we use today.

What is used in dental freezing?

Dentists typically use local anesthetics like lidocaine or novocaine for dental freezing. These substances block nerve signals, ensuring a painless experience during the procedure. But here is a list of these substances:

  1. Lidocaine:
    • One of the most widely used local anesthetics in dentistry.
    • It typically lasts for about 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Articaine:
    • Known for its quick onset and effectiveness.
    • The duration is similar to that of lidocaine, lasting around 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Mepivacaine:
    • Has a moderate duration, generally lasting 1 to 1.5 hours.
  4. Bupivacaine:
    • Provides a longer duration of numbness, usually around 2 to 4 hours.
    • It is used less frequently in routine dental procedures due to its prolonged effects.

Common Dental Procedures Using Local Anesthetics

Local anesthetics play a crucial role in ensuring a pain-free experience during various dental procedures. Here’s a list of common dental treatments where freezing is frequently employed, along with a brief explanation of each:

  1. Fillings:
    • Procedure:
      • Used for treating cavities by removing the decayed portion and filling the space with dental material.
    • Application:
      • Local anesthetics, like lidocaine, are administered to numb the area, ensuring the patient feels minimal discomfort during the process.
  2. Tooth Extractions:
    • Procedure:
      • Removal of a tooth due to decay, damage, or overcrowding.
    • Application:
      • Local anesthetics, such as articaine, are used to numb the surrounding tissues, facilitating a painless extraction.
  3. Dental implant placement:
    • Procedure:
      • Surgical insertion of artificial tooth roots for supporting dental prosthetics.
    • Application:
      • Articaine or other local anesthetics are administered to ensure the patient remains comfortable during the implant placement.
  4. Minor Oral Surgeries:
    • Procedure:
      • Various minor surgical procedures, such as gum tissue adjustments.
    • Dental Freezing Application:
      • Lidocaine or other suitable local anesthetics are used to numb the targeted area.
  5. Root Canal Treatment:
    • Procedure:
      • Removal of infected or damaged pulp from the tooth’s root canal.
    • Application:
      • Bupivacaine or other local anesthetics are employed to ensure the patient is pain-free during this intricate procedure.
  6. Periodontal Treatments:
    • Procedure:
      • Treatment of gum diseases and infections.
    • Application:
      • Mepivacaine or other local anesthetics may be used for procedures involving the gums.
  7. Prolonged Oral Surgeries:
    • Procedure:
      • Extensive oral surgeries, such as jaw reconstruction or major tissue grafts.
    • Application:
      • Bupivacaine, known for its longer duration, is often chosen for prolonged surgeries.

How long does dental freezing last?

One of the burning questions patients have is how long they can expect to feel numb after a dental procedure.

It usually lasts between one and two hours, but in some cases, it can extend up to eight hours after a dental visit.

After surgery, the local anesthetic commonly lasts for about 2–8 hours. Following the procedure, numbness in the lips, face, and tongue may persist for 3–5 hours.

The duration varies, but typically the effects wear off after a few hours.

Factors Influencing Duration

Several factors contribute to the length of time dental freezing lasts. Such as:

The duration of it can vary based on several factors. Here’s a list of key influences:

  1. Type of Anesthetic:
    • Different local anesthetics have varying durations of effectiveness.
  2. Dosage Administered:
    • The amount of anesthetic given can impact how long the numbing effect lasts.
  3. Location of the Injection:
    • The specific area where the anesthetic is administered can influence its longevity.
  4. Patient’s Metabolism:
    • Individual metabolic rates play a role in how quickly the body processes the anesthetic.
  5. Nature of the Dental Procedure:
    • The complexity and duration of the dental treatment affect how long the anesthetic remains effective.
  6. Patient’s Overall Health:
    • General health conditions may impact the body’s response to the anesthetic.
  7. Patient’s Age:
    • Age can influence how the body metabolizes and reacts to the anesthetic.

Side Effects of Dental Freezing

Like any medical procedure, freezing may come with side effects. Common ones include temporary numbness, tingling sensations, and, in rare cases, allergic reactions.

Dental Freezing and Wisdom Teeth

The impact of dental freezing of wisdom teeth can persist for a few hours to half a day, depending on the person’s variations.

  • Short-Term Numbness: The immediate numbness might last 1 to 2 hours after the procedure.
  • Extended Effects: Some individuals may experience lingering numbness for up to 4 to 6 hours.

Dental Freezing and Root Canal

For those undergoing a root canal, the duration of freezing effects may be slightly longer. Patients can expect numbness to persist for several hours.

Moderate Duration: Patients can expect the numbness to persist for around 2 to 4 hours following a root canal.

Tips for Dealing with Numbness

Dealing with post-freezing numbness can be challenging. Simple tips like avoiding hot beverages and being cautious while eating can help manage the temporary sensations.

Common Misconceptions About Dental Freezing

  1. Dental Freezing Lasts Indefinitely
    • Contrary to popular belief, the numbness from freezing is temporary and typically wears off after a few hours.
  2. All Dental Freezing Feels the Same
    • Different local anesthetics may be used, and individual responses vary, so not all dental freezing experiences are identical.
  3. Dental Freezing Always Causes Numbness Throughout the Face
    • Dental freezing is targeted, and its effects are localized. It doesn’t numb the entire face, but only the specific area being treated.
  4. The Longer the Numbness, the Better the Anesthetic
    • The duration of numbness is influenced by various factors and longer doesn’t necessarily indicate a better anesthesia experience.
  5. Dental Freezing Is Always Necessary
    • Depending on the procedure, alternatives like sedation might be suitable, and not every dental treatment requires local anesthesia.
  6. Numbness Indicates Permanent Nerve Damage
    • Temporary numbness is a common side effect, but it doesn’t imply permanent nerve damage. Sensation usually returns as the anesthesia wears off.
  7. Everyone Reacts the Same Way to Dental Freezing
    • Individual responses to anesthesia can differ, making it essential for dentists to tailor the approach based on the patient’s needs and medical history.
  8. Dental Freezing Is Only for Major Procedures
    • Even minor dental treatments, like filling cavities, may involve local anesthesia to ensure a comfortable experience for the patient.


In conclusion, the duration of dental freezing varies based on several factors. Understanding the process, potential side effects and tips for managing post-procedural numbness can make the dental experience more predictable and comfortable. Reach out to your local Windsor dentist for more information.


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