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Old 09-23-2006, 01:08 PM   #1
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Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

Hi everyone,

I'm due to have my wisdom teeth removed on October 3rd. Yesterday I was at the hospital and spoke to one of the maxillofacial surgeons about the upcoming procedure. I'm having all 4 teeth removed under general anaesthesia.

Now he got me worried cause he kept emphasising how he couldn't guarantee that there wouldn't be any permanent nerve damage -- by that I mean the lingual or inferior alveolar nerves which are both close to the lower wisdom teeth. When I finally asked him out straight did he think I was in a higher risk group for this happening he said that based on my x-ray he thinks one side of my mouth should be okay, but the other will probably suffer from some numbness for 4 months or it could be permanent.

Now this has me terrified and despite the pain the wisdom teeth have been causing me for months, I am wondering if I should back out of the surgery. I mean I don't want to swap one problem for the other. I hate it when I'm numb after a dental procedure and i cannot imagine that being permanent.

I've been reading up about lingual and inferior alveolar nerve damage and when it's permanent it sounds horrible. Anyone here have it? If yes, how have you adjusted? Can you eat ok? Can you taste your food?

That is what worries me the most -- not being able to eat properly or taste food if something like this happened. I think that kind of injury could really diminish quality of life. And yes I love to eat, so it's a really big deal for me.

I would love to hear from anyone who has had temporary or permanent numbness/pain/tingling or any other kind of nerve damage following wisdom teeth removal. Where you warned beforehand? Has it drastically changed your life? If you knew ahead of time that this would happen, would you still go ahead with the surgery?

I'm really stressed out about this -- cause on the one hand my wisdom teeth really need to come out as they cause me a lot of trouble and pain. But at least I can taste my food and eat normally. So I don't know what to decide. I'm going to try and call the hospital next week and speak to the surgeon who is actually doing the procedure -- I didn't see her Friday but someone else. I'm hoping maybe he is wrong.

Any advice, comments, opinions -- most welcome as I'm so confused and clueless as to what to do.

Thank you!!!

Monica

 
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Old 09-24-2006, 01:56 AM   #2
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

I have never heard of that.. I had all my 4 taken out too- one was impacted- is that a disclosure type of thing- or is it for real? What about getting a second opionion?

 
Old 09-24-2006, 01:56 AM   #3
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

I have never heard of that.. I had all my 4 taken out too- one was impacted- is that a disclosure type of thing- or is it for real? What about getting a second opionion?Sorry! wouldn't go!

Last edited by wintersun; 09-24-2006 at 01:59 AM.

 
Old 09-24-2006, 11:18 AM   #4
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

Quote:
Originally Posted by wintersun
I have never heard of that.. I had all my 4 taken out too- one was impacted- is that a disclosure type of thing- or is it for real? What about getting a second opionion?Sorry! wouldn't go!
Hi wintersun,

Do you mean you've never heard of the possibility of nerve damage? I assumed all dentists and oral surgeons spoke of this risk before taking wisdom teeth out, but I assumed they said the risk was minimal.

I spoke to my sister about it last night, she had all 4 wisdom teeth out in the States and she said her surgeon told her there was a slight risk of permanent nerve damage but like 1 in 250 cases, so she wasn't worried.

The statistics seem to vary around 1-2%, though I did read one website which said temporary damage is as high as 22%.

What concerns me is that this guy I saw on Friday feels that I will have trouble with at least one side of my mouth, and it could end up being permanent. That worries me no end.

It is a disclosure thing as well, cause on the consent form it says nerve damage and numbness to lip, tongue and chin.

But I'm surprised you've never heard of it as there are some posts in the archives where people speak of numbness after having their teeth removed and some worried about it being permanent.

Anyway, I still don't know what to do and am really scared. I will try and ring the hospital tomorrow to see if I can speak to another surgeon and get a second opinion but I don't hold out much hope on that.

Monica

 
Old 09-27-2006, 05:30 AM   #5
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

Hi there.

Don't know if you're already had them removed and I'm too late, but I might as well share what I know anyway.

I had all four removed yesterday. The freezing in my mouth should have gone away after four hours. One side was fine, whereas the left side is still completely numb. From the centre of my lip and chin to just beyond the farthest point of my lip is numb. The feeling sucks. And I'm hoping it's not nerve damage, but by this time, I'm guessing it is.

When it comes to drinking and such, I haven't had any real problems, it's just very uncomfortable, considering I can't feel the cup I'm drinking out of with my lip. They also tell you to keep putting vaseline on your lips to keep them from drying out, but I hate doing it because of the unpleasant feeling of not being able to feel it going on: my lip is not only numb, but tingles when it's touched.

The worst part so far about my chin is an itch. As stupid as it sounds, I couldn't sleep last night and was ready to cry because my chin was itchy, but I couldn't scratch it because I didn't know where the itch was exactly. It really was awful.

My oral surgeon had told me this was probably not going to happen because my teeth were far enough apart from the nerve... but obviously he was wrong.

Other unfortable things you might want to be aware of: it's very hard to swollow, your jaw gets very, very stiff (it's like not moving your arm for hours and hours and how it feels after that), your cheeks feel as though they're bruised, all your other teeth are very sesitive (like if you have been compacting your teeth and biting down very hard through the whole night).

There are some good things... if you're in school, or working... you're off for about a week. You get to eat fun foods like milkshakes and pudding and baby food (yes I eat baby food ) and my personal favourite, plain beef broth ( just make sure it's completely cool!). Another good thing, I find anyway, is that over the course of the day you can feel everything slowly healing: my tongue unfroze, I could open my mouth wider, and I could swollow a bit better.

That's about it. Sorry it sounds so horrible, but this is only from my experience. It's different for everyone. I hope that helped.

Kate

P.S. Just called the surgeon, and they told me it was fluid touching the nerve, which at the most will take a couple weeks to go away. But supposedly it feels the exact same as if I had had a nerve damaged. Ta-da! Now I'm done.

Last edited by lycanthrope; 09-27-2006 at 05:33 AM.

 
Old 09-27-2006, 02:41 PM   #6
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

Hi Kate,

Thanks so much for your post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lycanthrope
Hi there.

Don't know if you're already had them removed and I'm too late, but I might as well share what I know anyway.
I'm due to have them out on Tuesday Oct 3rd, so just a few days to go.

Quote:
I had all four removed yesterday. The freezing in my mouth should have gone away after four hours. One side was fine, whereas the left side is still completely numb. From the centre of my lip and chin to just beyond the farthest point of my lip is numb. The feeling sucks. And I'm hoping it's not nerve damage, but by this time, I'm guessing it is.
So is it just half the lip and half the chin on the left side? Or is it your entire lip? Is it exactly the same as you would feel after a dental injection?

Quote:
When it comes to drinking and such, I haven't had any real problems, it's just very uncomfortable, considering I can't feel the cup I'm drinking out of with my lip. They also tell you to keep putting vaseline on your lips to keep them from drying out, but I hate doing it because of the unpleasant feeling of not being able to feel it going on: my lip is not only numb, but tingles when it's touched.
From what I've heard tingling is good, means that it is healing and should go back to normal. It's when you are just numb then it's not good. From what you describe it sounds to me exactly like one feels after a dental injection.

Can you taste okay?

Quote:
The worst part so far about my chin is an itch. As stupid as it sounds, I couldn't sleep last night and was ready to cry because my chin was itchy, but I couldn't scratch it because I didn't know where the itch was exactly. It really was awful.
Well hopefully you'll heal up soon and stuff like this won't bother you anymore. Doesn't sound very pleasant though.

Quote:
Other unfortable things you might want to be aware of: it's very hard to swollow, your jaw gets very, very stiff (it's like not moving your arm for hours and hours and how it feels after that), your cheeks feel as though they're bruised, all your other teeth are very sesitive (like if you have been compacting your teeth and biting down very hard through the whole night).
Okay this is all new, haven't heard this before. Did you have general anaesthesia? I know last time I did it was hard to swallow cause my throat was sore from the tube that had been down there. So I'm guessing that will be the same when they take my teeth out.

Quote:
There are some good things... if you're in school, or working... you're off for about a week. You get to eat fun foods like milkshakes and pudding and baby food (yes I eat baby food ) and my personal favourite, plain beef broth ( just make sure it's completely cool!). Another good thing, I find anyway, is that over the course of the day you can feel everything slowly healing: my tongue unfroze, I could open my mouth wider, and I could swollow a bit better.
So your tongue was numb/frozen a few hours after surgery? How long before you could feel it again?

As to food, I was told I could probably eat whatever I felt like a day after surgery, all depending on how I feel. But no hot liquids in the first 24 hours. So is that what you were told? Nothing hot for at least 24 hours?

Quote:
P.S. Just called the surgeon, and they told me it was fluid touching the nerve, which at the most will take a couple weeks to go away. But supposedly it feels the exact same as if I had had a nerve damaged. Ta-da! Now I'm done.
Glad to hear it's not nerve damage. Never heard about fluid touching the nerve. What kind of fluid? Hope you'll feel better soon.

I'd love to hear how you get on. Could you keep me updated? For example how's the pain? Are you on strong pain meds? Are you rinsing with salt water or any kind of mouthwash? Can you sleep on your side or is that too painful and you have to sleep on your back?

Thanks!

Monica

 
Old 09-27-2006, 03:30 PM   #7
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

Yes it is just half the lip and chin. Chin is completely numb and lip is tingly. It kinda feels like a normal dental injection but from what I can remember, a bit worse, and it's obviously taking a lot longer to go away.

I was hooked up to an IV, given general anaesthesia, and laughing gas. That's another good thing. You get drowsy, but then you wake up. It went by sooo fast, I didn't even know they had done it. It was rather amazing. I had a very hard time with the IV (I hate needles). That was the worst part pre-surgery. The swollowing is hardest when you first wake up post-surgery, and then is pretty bad when you wake up any other time (like when you have a sore throat any other time and it's worse in the morning). When you first wake, post-surgery, I felt like I was choking because I couldn't swollow, but I also couldn't tell if there was a huge build-up of saliva. But I was fine, hardly any drooling and that feeling of choking goes away as soon as your tongue's numbness goes away. Just sleep as soon as you get home and it should be fine by the time you wake up. It makes it rather hard to swollow because everything is so stiff.

My tongue was completely frozen after surgery for about 4 hours... that made things very uncomfortable and hard. I very highly doubt you will want to eat anything. It's day 2 for me and I can hardly open my mouth wide enough to stick a spoon in. The only thing I've been drinking/eating is broth, apple juice and water. And I somehow just finished a thing of baby food. My mum had to go get me an actual baby spoon (the soft plastic ones) because they're small enough to fit in my mouth. And that still hurt opening my mouth that wide. Um... if that's hard to imagine... I'm also finding it difficult to even fit a pill in there. I still haven't had any hot liquids. Just warm broth.

The fluid is from the swelling. Which is what swelling is: a build-up of fluid used in the healing process. The surgeon told me this would probably happen. I've been keeping an ice pack on both cheeks: keeping it on for about ten minutes, then switching cheeks. That's supposed to help with the swelling, but I have found that it hasn't. So far it's just made my mouth more stiff. Which is kind of annoying. The swelling should reach it's climax by around 10 tomorrow morning. So I'll tell you if it starts to go down at all tomorrow.

AHHH! The itchiness is back! But apparently that's a good sign of healing.

I'm rinsing with salt water after every time I eat something. But not the day I had them removed. Start ONLY the day after, and continue for a few days. 1/4 cup of warm water mixed well with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I was also told diluted mouthwash was okay, but I'd rather not take the chance. I know how well salt heals (I have numerous piercings and salt has healed them all perfectly). I'm also taking Tylenol-3s and some antibiotics. I don't know if this applies to you, but I was told birth control pills are rendered obscolete when on antibiotics. They will do nothing for you, so it doesn't matter if you take them or not. Sleeping is not painful. I haven't had any trouble really. Maybe a little discomfort at first but both sides are very easy to sleep on as long as you find the right position. Sleeping on my back is hard because I feel a lot of pressure, as though the fluid has sunk to the back and weighing everything down. It's hard to describe, but it's not that great of a feeling. It doesn't hurt, it's just bleh.

Something I forgot to mention are the stitiches. I have seven in my mouth. I can feel some on the top right side of my mouth, and every time I swollow, it feels as though I'm goig to swollow them to. I can touch them with my tongue and it feels almost as though they're on the roof of my mouth. But they will dissolve in a couple weeks.

Talking can be hard at some points, as is turning my head too far, or looking directly up at the ceiling.

Overall, there really isn't any real pain. Just numbness, tingling, and aching when I open my mouth too far, as well as a constant tight feeling around the molars and jaw. If you have a tattoo, you will know it didn't hurt so much as it was annoying. This is the same thing. The constant pressure is just annoying.

I'll post another message tomorrow and tell you how day 3 is. Don't worry, it really isn't that bad. If I'm to give you any advice, it's that you should sleep. Take your Tylenol-3's and SLEEP. You don't feel the pressure when you sleep, and once you wake up it does feel a bit better. So get as much sleep as you can.

Hope I'm helping.

Kate

 
Old 10-03-2006, 06:49 PM   #8
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

Quote:
Originally Posted by lycanthrope
Yes it is just half the lip and chin. Chin is completely numb and lip is tingly. It kinda feels like a normal dental injection but from what I can remember, a bit worse, and it's obviously taking a lot longer to go away.
Hi Kate,

Just thought I'd check in with you. Not sure if you're still around but hope you are. How is the tingling and numbness now? How is your general recovery? Are you eating normally yet?

Quote:
I'll post another message tomorrow and tell you how day 3 is. Don't worry, it really isn't that bad. If I'm to give you any advice, it's that you should sleep. Take your Tylenol-3's and SLEEP. You don't feel the pressure when you sleep, and once you wake up it does feel a bit better. So get as much sleep as you can. Hope I'm helping.

Kate
All your advice is very helpful. I was supposed to have my wisdom teeth out today but I cancelled the surgery as I wanted to get a second opinion on the nerve damage possibility from another surgeon.

Saw someone yesterday who is the top maxillofacial surgeon in my area. He says I am at higher risk -- there are 3 groups -- distant, closer and intimate for the nerves. I'm in the closer group. He says under his hands it would be a 1% risk, but then he only does private work and it would cost me a lot of money to have it done under him.

He couldn't guarantee what the outcome would be if another surgeon did it, which is only fair I guess.

I know the teeth need to come out and I guess there are no guarantees, but I wish I wasn't at higher risk. He didn't seem to think living with nerve damage was that big a deal, and says his patients that have it just get used to it. And in the UK apparently they don't do nerve grafts or whatever they do do, it's very much in an experimental stage.

Maybe I'm worrying too much and should just bite the bullet and get it over with. I'm scheduled to have it now on October 30th so I've still got some time to think about what I wanna do.

Anyway hope you are feeling better, Kate and that the sensation is coming back.

Monica

 
Old 10-04-2006, 04:23 AM   #9
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

Hey Monica.

Sorry I couldn't reply, I went up north for the weekend. I think your right. There's nothing you can do about the nerve damage, and the teeth must come out or you will have many worse problems than a bit of numbness.

My numbness btw hasn't gone away yet. I had to cancel my check up because I had to work. Jaw still won't open. It will only open about the width of two fingers. I'm eating soft solid foods mostly now, nothing crunchy yet. It's still kinda hard to brush my teeth and once in awhile I'll slip and the area will start to bleed a bit. Some of the stitches have come out: it was gross because they were kind of hanging there and I just decided to cut those off. But other ones have just fallen out. That's not really fun. That's it really. Most of the swelling is completely gone. My cheeks hurt like they're bruised though.

Good luck with your teeth. I'm off to work now. Post me a message after you get it done adn tell me how your doing. If you have any questions then, I'll try and answer them. Good luck. You'll be fine.

-Kate

 
Old 01-17-2007, 03:50 PM   #10
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

Hi lycanthrope, how is the numbness, has it gone away completely?
Thanks!

 
Old 01-18-2007, 11:26 PM   #11
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

I used to get headaches and neckaches everyday. I had 2 impacted wisdoms. I was also warned that one of the wisdoms was very close to the nerve and that I might lose feeling to one side of my face. I had all of my 4 wisdoms taken out. Believe it or not the next day I went to school. Good thing I had one class that day. I went to class all puffy, bruised, I could barely open my mouth and talk. I looked like a chipmunk I loved the class and didn't want to miss a day. I didn't take any pain medication. I didn't lose any feeling on my face and I was so happy that I didn't have that constant headache anymore.

 
Old 01-19-2007, 03:49 AM   #12
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

Boo. It's been about 4 months and I still have no feeling in the left side of my chin.

 
Old 01-31-2007, 04:21 AM   #13
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

oh wow, i'm sorry to hear that lycanthrope, i just had mine out yesterday, and at night only the left side of my lip was numb and i couldn't feel it at all, but i woke up with feeling in it, i was so relieved bc i was getting worried. right now i just have pain on the left side, it was the only tooth that was impacted, on the bottom, the rest are ok.

 
Old 02-13-2007, 03:03 PM   #14
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Angry Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

I recently had my wisdom teeth removed 5 days ago and I am also experiencing numbness in my lower lip (the left half) and the left half of my chin. It is the most uncomfortable feeling, especially when I eat/drink, or try to talk. My doctor said the feeling should return within a month. Is there any way to speed up this process? Can X-rays show if my nerve was severly damaged? I just want an answer about how long it will actually take for the feeling to come back, because it is terrible!

 
Old 01-18-2008, 06:36 AM   #15
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Re: Wisdom Tooth Removal -- Worried about Nerve Damage

Hi..I had an impacted wisdom tooth (lower left side) removed at the hospital a week ago. My lower lip is still numb from the middle to the corner of my mouth. I can't feel my teeth in that area when I brush and I often accidentally bite the inside of my cheek. I can only open my mouth about 3 cm (it feels like my jaw is locked)...and I have to cut my food into small pieces before attempting to chew it. I guess, on the bright side, I am lucky that I have not lost any feeling in my tongue.

I've been searching the internet trying to find someone who has had the feeling come back after this nerve damage...I guess just to give me a little hope. I'm feeling quite depressed about all of this...I am glad to have the wisdom tooth gone because it had been giving me trouble for two months but, I really have trouble accepting living with this numb feeling in my mouth possibly forever.

My dental surgeon said that he touched the nerve because the tooth was laying sideways and was too close to the nerve. He told me that I can call him in 3 months if I still have no feeling. But, I've read that nerve repair is most successful if done early...I'm not sure I want to wait that long to have this problem evaluated.

Any suggestions on how to cope with this would be really appreciated. TIA.

 
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