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Dental Anesthesia

Injection Hit Nerve, Tongue Numb

05/06/2010

Question:

Many years ago, while injecting Novocain to prepare for a filling, my dentist hit a nerve. The pain was brief but excruciating. The left side of my tongue (except the tip) was numb and I had no taste for about 6 months. Eventually, the injury healed and everything is back to normal. I’ve just learned that I have a Salivary Gland Tumor, which I’m having removed along with the Parotid gland at Johns Hopkins. While studying to understand the surgery I’m about to undergo, I came across a picture that leads me to believe the dentist hit my facial nerve. My question is whether the two are related and is there anything I should be concerned about with the surgery. Is my facial nerve already problematic and therefore more at risk? The tumor is extremely painful to the touch, which seemed to be unusual according to the surgeon.

He also confirmed a diagnosis of Sjogren`s Syndrome.

Answer:

These two events have nothing to do with each other. The nerve that was "hit" was the lingual nerve from the trigeminal distribution and not the facial nerve as well. 

I wish you well with your surgery; however, facial nerve injury can occur as I am sure your surgeon has told you.

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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