What to Expect After Having Your Mouth Numbed

what to expect after getting your mouth numbed

Going to the dentist is not likely on anyone’s list of favorite things to do. However, having a check up twice a year is essential to ensure good oral health. And if you have issues that need attention (such as the need for a root canal, dental implants, or treatment for gum disease), you should go more often and will probably have your mouth anesthetized at some point.

While anesthesia masks pain during dental procedures, it takes a while for the numbness to wear off; often well after you’ve left the dentist’s office. So what should you expect after having your mouth numbed?

How Long Does the Numbness Last?

Some people regain full sensation within an hour or two. However, depending on how much anesthesia was administered, it could last up to five hours, and can affect your tongue, gums, lips, and inside of your cheeks.

If the procedure was on your bottom teeth, you received a higher dosage of the numbing agent, since there are more nerve endings in the lower jaw. Another factor that influences the numbing time frame is metabolism. People with a fast metabolism flush the anesthesia out of their system more quickly than those with a slower metabolism.

Since the length of time could vary so much from one individual to the next, we recommend scheduling your procedure on a day that you’re off from work or on a weekend. If you can’t take time off from work, just be sure not to schedule the procedure on the same day as a big presentation or interview. If you’re single and ready to mingle, avoid scheduling that dentist visit on the same day that you have a big date.

What Can You Eat While Your Mouth Is Numb?

Since you won’t have much, if any, sensation in your mouth, tongue or cheeks, refrain from eating foods that require a lot of chewing. You wouldn’t want to bite your tongue or cheek while chomping down into a burger. It will be easier to eat soft foods. Some ideas for soft foods include:

    • Mashed potatoes
    • Soft cheese
    • Hummus
    • Pudding
    • Smoothies
    • Yogurt
    • Oatmeal
    • Apple sauce
    • Ice cream

Is There Anything You Should Avoid While Your Mouth is Numb?


  • Don’t chew gum
  • Don’t bite the inside of your cheeks
  • Don’t drink anything that’s too hot, since you won’t be able to sense temperature
  • Do not drink alcohol, since this can interfere with anesthesia

Depending on your particular procedure, your dentist will give you a list of instructions. Don’t ignore them. If you need reminders, ask that the instructions be emailed to you and set up notifications on your phone.

If you need to schedule a dentist’s appointment, let us help you.

At St. Hope, we foster a trusting patient/medical provider relationship to ensure that everyone who walks through our doors feels comfortable and receives the care they deserve.

We take same-day appointments, accept all insurance plans, and welcome walk-ins. Call us at 713-778-1300 or visit us at 6800 West Loop South, Suite 560, Bellaire, TX 77401.