How Long Does Novocaine Last?

Used most often in dentistry, novocaine (trade name Novocain) is a sodium channel blocker local anesthetic that is used to diminish pain during certain procedures. It numbs the area where it is injected for a prolonged period of time so you don’t feel any pain in the general area. The numbness is localized but can last for some time after the procedure in question is complete which can be uncomfortable.

If you’re expecting to be injected with novocaine or are currently under the effects of the drug, you might be wondering, “How long does novocaine last?” This article aims to answer that question while also providing you with important information about the anesthetic.


What Is Novocaine?

Also known as procaine, novocaine is a generic name for the local anesthetic. It is a part of the amino ester group and acts as a sodium channel blocker that allows it to block pain during minor procedures, especially dental work. It is also used as a therapeutic treatment in different countries because it has anti-inflammatory properties, mood-enhancing effects, and is perfusion-enhancing. Novocaine is a vasodilator so it must be used with a vasoconstrictor like epinephrine in order to reduce bleeding, keeps the numbness localized, and helps the anesthesia last longer.

While it was used extensively for quite some time, novocaine is used less often nowadays since other alternatives have been found to be more effective and hypoallergenic (lidocaine is one of these). Where it is still used, the dosage is determined by the type of procedure and the area that needs to be anesthetized as well as the physical condition of the patient. In general, your doctor/dentist will use the smallest possible dose necessary to numb the area in question.

It is usually administered via injection usually in fractional doses for a complete effect. It is diluted with an appropriate solution which is determined by the procedure and the amount needed for the specific area and the patient’s condition. General dosages are up to 15mg in a 0.5 percent solution for pediatric patients and 350 to 600mg in a varied diluted solution for adults. For strong peripheral nerve blocks, up to 1g undiluted can be used in adult patients.

There are some contraindications that should be noted for novocaine. Certain diseases like syphilis, spinal fluid block, meningitis, and similar cerebrospinal system diseases, as well as generalized septicemia and a hypersensitivity to procaine and similar drugs, are all examples of things that can affect the use of novocaine. Speak to your doctor or dentist about any issues that may inhibit the use of novocaine during a procedure.

Adverse effects related to novocaine, are adverse cardiovascular effects, postspinal headaches, spinal nerve paralysis, hypotension, nausea and vomiting, respiratory problems, meningismus, palsies, and arachnoiditis. The other side effects related to novocaine can be:

  • Restlessness
  • Shaking/convulsions
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness

Those who are allergic to the medication may also experience different issues. Breathing problems, skin rashes, and swelling of the face, throat, and tongue are possible. This allergy isn’t usually caused by the drug itself but is instead caused by the metabolite known as PABA in the drug. This isn’t incredibly common but should be something to consider just in case you experience any adverse effects.

How Long Does Novocaine Last

Novocaine produces a numb feeling in the given area. This can be uncomfortable and, when used during dental procedures, can make eating and talking difficult. While eating, you may not be able to tell what you’re biting into or you may slur your words while you speak. It can be overly frustrating. Due to that alone, most people can’t wait for the novocaine to wear off once their procedure is complete.

The short answer to the question of how long does novocaine last is that it will eventually wear off on its own over time but you need some patience. Most people choose to take a nap while still numb since time seems to pass faster when you’re asleep. Speaking more specifically, the staying power of novocaine depends mainly on how much is given to you and where it was used. A typical injection of the drug for dental procedures, for example, lasts about two hours on your tooth but the numbness to the surrounding area (face, lips, and tongue) can last from anywhere from three to five hours.

It is important not to chance things while you’re still numb as you can cause more damage than you realize. For example, if you had novocaine to numb a tooth and you choose to bite down on that tooth while still numb, you will probably end up biting down harder than you intend to because you can’t feel anything. When you do that, you could damage the tooth in question. The same can be said for any body part left numb by the drug. Since you won’t be able to feel anything in the given area, you can end up hurting yourself without even realizing it. It’s best to rest while the novocaine wears off.

If you need the novocaine to wear off faster or are just impatient, there are some home remedies that you can try in order to shorten how long it takes for novocaine to wear off.

  • Massage the skin around the area that is numb gently. Don’t use too much pressure as you can end up bruising or hurting yourself since you can’t properly manage the pressure to the numbed area
  • Engage in physical activity. By doing something that doesn’t impact the numb area can increase your circulation and help return feeling to the numb area. For example, if your mouth is numb, a bike ride or a walk can help stimulate blood flow throughout your body and help the novocaine wear off faster

While the novocaine will wear off on its own, if you still feel numb after eight hours, you should see a doctor. A medical professional can see if there are underlying problems working against your body’s ability to fight off the novocaine and may be able to give you another injection to counteract the drug.


Hopefully, the information here answered your question of how long does novocaine last. The additional information about the drug will also hopefully help you better understand what the anesthetic is used for and how it is meant to work in your body. Be sure to talk to your doctor or dentist prior to any procedure involving novocaine so you can discuss contraindications, allergies, and possible adverse reactions related to the drug.

Anna Smith

Hi there ! I’m Anna Smith, chief editor at Healthankering. I'm a proud mother of three passionate about health tips, beauty and ways to live healthier with more energy ! We start Healthankering to provide advanced material about not only the best ways to get healthy, but also to entertain and create a great community. Welcome aboard !

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: