How long does it take for anesthesia to wear off

It would be nice if there were a simple, clear answer to this question, however, the number of variables involved make it very difficult to be precise. To answer this question there are a number of factors that we need to consider. Is the question really about anesthesia, or is it about sedation? What kind of anesthesia are we talking about? Who is it being used on? And the list goes on and on, so let’s explore some of these questions in our search for an answer.

Many times when people are asking about how long it will take for anesthesia to wear off, they are really asking how long they are going to be groggy or “out of it.” In this case, what we’re really talking about is general anesthesia. Depending on the type of treatment being performed, you might be surprised to find out that dental work is not commonly done under a general anesthesia, but may be performed under something called sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry is a whole other topic that we addressed in another article RIGHT HERE

When it comes to anesthesia, this is a question of how long will something be numb. Anesthesia is about temporarily reducing the loss of sensation and as it turns out, there are a variety of ways to do this. Understanding that general anesthesia is more about allowing people to sleep, we’ll discuss the other two types; topical or local. When it comes to topical anesthesia, it is very common for dentists to use something like benzocaine or lidocaine in a gel or spray to make the area numb where they plan to administer an injection. This topical anesthesia typically wears off in as little as half an hour.

Local anesthesia is more complex than topical anesthesia. Local anesthesia is administered through an injection, typically very close to the area where the dentist will be working. The types of local anesthesia range from a nerve block, to infiltration, to other more technical procedures that are really unnecessary to go into for the purposes of our main question. How long does it take for anesthesia to wear off.

The challenge in guessing the duration anesthesia will last is that it not only depends on the type of anesthesia being administered, but who it is being administered to. Your own genetic makeup, body type, reaction to medications, time of day, metabolism and nutrients in your system are all contributing factors in how long the medicine will last. Given all of those variables and understanding that results will vary from person to person, however general rule of thumb is about 3 hours from administration. As always, please make sure to check with your dentist to get their professional opinion of what you can expect in regards to your procedure.