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Dental Anesthesia

Runny Nose After Getting Dental Work.

12/04/2009

Question:

I had my two front upper teeth filled near the gum today. After he injected the local anesthetics or whatever its called I felt twitching through my face up to my eye where I would tear up a bit and then it stopped. During the very long work I was fine. I know the tearing up is normal. It happens to me a lot. But just 20 mins or so after I got out of the place my nose started to run. This was 5-6 hours ago and it hasn`t stopped. If anything its gotten worse. I am not getting a cold. I do not get sick very often or very much. Even now I have to keep paper towels and lots of them under me so I can type. I have gone through a half a roll already. All completely soaked. I can`t blow my nose anymore cause of soreness. From doing it too much. I had hoped once everything had worn off it would go away. A product of loosening up the right nerves and/or muscles that possibly release tears. But it isn`t getting to my eyes. It`s a constant stream coming from my nose. It is very clear liquid. Possibly a little salty sense I just coughed up some that is leaking down my throat... :/ You told the other man that it wasn`t cause of the injections. That he may be getting a cold... I do not believe that it is from a cold, flu, infection, or any other illness. That is my belief, but what are your thoughts? Is this normal? How long is normal? The injections, two of them, were deep on both sides of the two top front teeth. Basically angled toward my eyes. Someone has already asked you this question. Yet they didn`t give you any details. I think I have given you enough.

Answer:

Thank you for this most interesting question. It is not clear to me what is actually occurring. Some interesting issues in your description: You do tear up a lot, and there was a salty taste from the post-nasal drip down the back of your throat. It almost sounds from this that this may be tears that are somehow getting into the nose through the nasolacrimal duct. I realize you are not tearing, or are you? You say you tear often. I take on face value that you are not developing a sinusitis although this is always a possibility.

On a more theoretical level, if the palate was also anesthetized, these nerves run through the pterygopalatine (or spenopalatine) ganglion, a special nerve connection that includes the mechanisms for tearing and nasal discharge. Perhaps there was some irritation of these nerves in some way that led to overactivity of this center leading your symptoms. This is just speculation based on the anatomy, and I do not know if those nerves were anesthetized but it would be an appealing theory, especially if tearing is common for you (which is not typical for someone to tear a lot unless there is an allergic etiology) implying maybe some overactivity of this ganglion.

I am sorry I could not be of more help. Clearly, if this persists, ENT consultation would be appropriate as there are possibly other causes I am not familiar with.

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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