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Have you ever wondered how Novocaine works? The following article breaks down exactly how the numbing agent works. 

The exact length of time that Novocaine works for depends on several factors, including:

1. The dose

The higher the dose of Novocaine, the longer its numbing effects will last.

The amount administered depends on:

  • the type of procedure being performed
  • the number of nerves being numbed
  • the size of the area being treated

A root canal treatment will require more Novocaine than a simple filling, for example.

2. The individual

Anesthetic effects vary slightly from person-to-person. The presence of certain medical conditions may also affect how the body breaks Novocaine down.

Novocaine is broken down in the body by an enzyme called pseudocholinesterase.

However, approximately 1 in every 5,000 people have a pseudocholinesterase deficiency and cannot metabolize Novocaine or other anesthetics. As a result, the effects of Novocaine last much longer in people with this condition.

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