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Dental Anesthesia

Numbness after dental procedure

11/13/2008

Question:

My tongue, vestibule and gum on my left side are still numb after five weeks from a dental procedure. The Dentist thinks he may have injured the nerve. What are the possibilities that this will correct itself?

Answer:

This depends in part on whether the injury was from the local anesthetic injection or from a surgical procedure. If from local anesthesia, then the vast majority of these (99%) do resolve with time.

If you are starting to experience some sensation, however, like tingling or better sensation in the back of the area, these are good signs. If your numbness is still very deep, then this has a poorer prognosis. If this is the case, you may want to get a consultation with an oral surgeon (or another surgeon whom your dentist recommends) who performs nerve repair to see if this is possible. Only a few oral surgeons provide this service.

The lingual nerve, the one involved, is particularly difficult but it may be worth an evaluation. I wish you well. Fortunately, most of these resolve but it is very disconcerting.

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Response by:

Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS
Formerly, Clinical Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University