How can I get rid of numbness after a filling?

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How can I get rid of numbness after a filling?

Postby Internetmeme » Mon May 04, 2009 9:16 pm UTC

Hi,

I just got back from the dentist, and about 45 minutes ago I was injected with a local anesthetic on the left side of my mouth. It's still numb, and I want to know if I could get the numbness to go away faster. I read that pop-sickles might work, but cold numbs pain. I read that hot things would work, and that seems the best route.

I don't care about any pain afterwards, I want to know if I can get rid of this numbness within 3 hours, as I made previous plans to go out and eat.
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Re: How can I get rid of numbness after a filling?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Mon May 04, 2009 9:23 pm UTC

A careful application of tachyons (about 3 hours worth) should do the trick.
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Re: How can I get rid of numbness after a filling?

Postby Internetmeme » Mon May 04, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

Okay, let me specify:
A quick way that I probably have around the house and can easily get to.
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Re: How can I get rid of numbness after a filling?

Postby Mous » Mon May 04, 2009 9:32 pm UTC

Why would you want to do that?! I always loved that numb feeling... You can still eat and be numb.
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Re: How can I get rid of numbness after a filling?

Postby Internetmeme » Mon May 04, 2009 9:37 pm UTC

Yes, but you can't taste the food. What's the point of eating out if you don't taste the food? It's my sister's birthday and she wanted to eat out, so we are.
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Re: How can I get rid of numbness after a filling?

Postby wst » Mon May 04, 2009 9:37 pm UTC

Internetmeme wrote:Okay, let me specify:
A quick way that I probably have around the house and can easily get to.
You don't have a tachyon gun?
Also, chew some gum, so that you get some more blood going through there to move some of the anaesthetic out.

Also, if that gum doesn't work, then you can get used to chewing without biting yourself, before the meal, so you don't bleed over the furniture.

And taste is mainly governed by the nose...
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Re: How can I get rid of numbness after a filling?

Postby Internetmeme » Mon May 04, 2009 9:39 pm UTC

Yes, but tasting has to have at least some active taste buds.
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Re: How can I get rid of numbness after a filling?

Postby justaman » Mon May 04, 2009 10:24 pm UTC

The taste sensations we experience are sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami... these have very little to do with what we usually call taste. With half a numb tongue, you should still be able to taste the usual sweet, sour, etc. as all the taste buds are distributed over the tongue. The models they probably showed you in school with bitter at the back and sweet at the tip are completely wrong, as you can test for yourself.
All the aromaticness and variety of flavour is due to air being taken up into the back of the nasal passages and processed as smell. Ask an anosmic (if you can find one) or someone with a severely blocked nose what they experience, it really doesn't have much to do with the tongue.
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Re: How can I get rid of numbness after a filling?

Postby abitha » Mon May 04, 2009 10:45 pm UTC

Sorry, you'll probably just have to wait for it to wear off in its own sweet time. Lidocaine doesn't have a specific antidote, although it's conceivable that increasing blood flow to the area might make it wear off slightly quicker (in addition to chewing, you could try holding a heat pack against your jaw?)

Fortunately:
1) As already mentioned, most of your sense of 'taste' is actually mediated by smell.
2) You have taste receptors over your whole tongue, and probably the nerve block was only on one side, so you'll still taste with half your mouth.
3) The local anaesthetic you've been given is mainly intended to take out your trigeminal nerve, this being the one that transmits sensation and pain from your face. Your facial nerve does most of the facial movements, and clearly this is also partly taken out by the anaesthetic. Taste sensation is carried partly by the facial nerve (anterior two thirds of the tongue) and partly by the glossopharyngeal nerve (posterior third - and this nerve has a completely different course so the anaesthetic is unlikely to reach it). So you're only losing taste on the anterior two thirds of one side of your tongue, and as a previous poster mentioned, the different types of taste bud are spread all over the tongue, not particularly localised to different areas as once thought.

If taste has been taken out by the anaesthetic, i think it's likely to return later than facial movements and general sensation, but before pain, due to the diameter and myelination of the fibres - but i can't find any good information about what kind of nerve fibres they actually are, and i can't be bothered to go and fetch my copy of Gray's Anatomy (the medical textbook, not the TV series!). Regardless, you're unlikely to have a major taste deficit for the reasons given above, although psychosomatically it'll probably feel like you do because 'taste' is a mixture of loads of different things including the sensation of food in your mouth.

Hope you have a nice meal!
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