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Gum Diseases

Numbness after gum grafting procedure

07/23/2008

Question:

I had a gum grafting on a lower tooth 2 weeks ago and my chin and loer ip on the side where the procedure were done are still numb (feels like the novocaine never wore off). What would cause this to happen? Is this a common occurrence after a gum graft?

Answer:

Anatomically, there is an opening in the jaw bone where the nerve enters/exits from the jaw {it is called foramen mentale, in Latin}. In some individuals, it is located right at the tip of the lower premolars. Sometimes, during soft tissue grafting, when we prepare the recipient site, we are very close to this opening.  If the surgeon did not touch the nerve directly, the numbness is due to swelling after surgery and it should go away gradually. This may take 10 days, 1 month or longer. If the trauma is direct on the nerve, it may be permanent (this happens rarely). 

Generally, we recommend the use of B12 (folic acid) vitamin when we expect trauma on the nerve. It helps with nerve regeneration during healing. It is commonly done in orthopedics. Ask your surgeon. You really do not need a prescription, but he has to check you medical record and determine the dose.  

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Response by:

Binnaz   Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD Binnaz Leblebicioglu, DDS, MS, PhD
Associate Professor of Periodontology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University