There are many habits and dental procedures that you can do to take care of your oral health. These various dental procedures involving tooth extractions, tooth filling, dental cosmetic procedures, tooth reshaping, and root canals require the use of anesthesia to reduce the pain and discomfort experienced during the procedures. Different types of anesthesia are used for dental procedures depending on the type of the procedure and condition of the patient including local anesthesia, general anesthesia or the use of oral sedation pills, liquids or inhaling nitrous oxide gas.
How long does dental anesthesia last?
The duration taken for anesthesia to last in the body system is depended on the type and nature of anesthesia used. This includes;
- Local anesthesia
This is the most common type of anesthesia used for most dental procedures. It is administered via injection to the affected area and it works by numbing the area preventing nerve impulse transmission to the brain. Among the commonly used local anesthetics are Lidocaine, Novocain, Articaine, Bupivacaine, Prilocaine, and Mepivacaine.
Local anesthesia lasts from 1-2 hours but when administered with epinephrine, the effects of local anesthesia can last for 2-4 hours.
- Dental sedation using oral pills, liquids or nitrous oxide gas
Nitrous oxide gas is commonly used for sedation in patients undergoing dental procedures due to its pain-alleviating properties. It is administered via inhalation and goes into effect a few minutes after administration.
Its effects last throughout the administration period up to at least 15 minutes following discontinuation of the nitrous oxide gas administration. Oxygen gas is administered to help clear off nitrous oxide from the system helping patients to return into the normal state.
Oral sedation medications such as Valium, Halcion, Vistaril, and Ativan always last longer in the system for a period of between 2 -8 hours depending on the type of medication.
- General anesthesia
This is commonly used for patients with disabilities, those who are yet to undergo a long period surgical procedure or those with extreme anxiety. This type of anesthesia often renders patients unconscious throat the procedure.
General anesthesia can last in the system for at least one to several hours later depending on the type of medications used during the procedure.
Other factors determining how long dental anesthesia lasts include
The dose administered whereby higher doses of anesthesia last longer compared to smaller doses.
Inflammation and infection on the affected area may prompt use of higher doses of anesthesia as these reduce the effectiveness of anesthesia making it last longer in the system.
Underlying medical conditions such as deficiency in enzymes metabolizing anesthesia which increases the period in which anesthesia lasts in the body.