Why does it take a long time for numbness to set in at the dentist after a shot?

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Why does it take a long time for numbness to set in at the dentist after a shot?

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The novocaine needs time to permeate the tissue.

Local anesthetics like novocaine aren’t injected into veins like general anesthetics are. You want them to stay in the area where you injected it, so you put it in the muscle.

It takes a few minutes for the novocaine to “soak through” the surrounding tissue enough to affect the nerves.

It all depends on the medicine used in the shot, where it’s injected, and if it’s mixed with anything.

The majority of these medicines are called amide and ester anesthetics; they work by entering sensory nerves and changing how they fire. Depending on the molecular structure of the anesthetic, some may take more time to enter into the nerve, but once inside they might take longer to break down (so slower time for medicine to take effect, but longer effect once numbness kicks in).