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Numbness in tongue after surgery....

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Old 04-28-2008, 05:48 PM   #1
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Numbness in tongue after surgery....

Hi there,
About a month ago, my mother had surgery to remove a lower wisdom tooth. Since the surgery, the right side and some of the underneath, she has had numbness. I understand this can be an effect of the surgery due to nerve damage....and in some cases can be permanent. She did see her surgeon again and he just said "there could be nerve damage, we'll be seeing each other for awhile". What does this mean?
I'm hoping for some reassurance here on her behalf....has anyone experienced this and it went away, and if so after how long? How do you deal with the anxiety of it? She is taking anti-anxiety medication for it right now, and depending on how long this is going to go on for, she cant keep doing that. Would really appreciate any advice....
Thanks, ******

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Old 04-28-2008, 09:46 PM   #2
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Re: Numbness in tongue after surgery....

Paresthesia can be a complication of lower wisdom teeth extraction. I'd assume your surgeon's comment on seeing your mom for "awhile" means he'll be monitoring her recovery and hopefully there is some return of feeling. Surgery is traumatic to tissue and this is an unfortunate occurrence.

Old 04-29-2008, 12:48 AM   #3
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Re: Numbness in tongue after surgery....

Hi ******...I would strongly suggest that your mother quickly find another dental professional for a second opinion and to re-assess her condition. If her present oral surgeon who performed the surgery is not even willing to say that her lingual nerve has been damaged in some way from the surgery, that is not good, imo. If he still says it 'could' be nerve damage after one month, what other cause is he giving her for the tongue numbness?

My lingual nerve was not damaged in my surgery...but the inferior alveolar nerve was...and I can say from experience that this is a horrible condition and involves much more than just 'being numb' for days, weeks or months as I was told before the procedure as one of the risks involved.

I post on a forum that is specifically for people who have suffered lingual and inferior alveolar injuries. An injury to a lingual nerve, in particular, can also result in mild to severe pain and extreme discomfort...but there are things that others have done that appear to help alleviate the pain and discomfort. There are people on that forum who have recovered in days or weeks...but there are some who are still recovering after several years. A common problem seems to be that it is sometimes difficult to find a caring dental professional who is knowledgeable about these nerve injuries and the symptoms and possible treatments.

What has the oral surgeon done for your mother up to this point? What does he plan to do for her in future visits? Has he mapped the area of numbness? Has he referred her to a neurologist for advice on pain management if she is experiencing alot of pain? Is she having trouble eating or speaking?

Jay W. Friedman DDS wrote a recent article for the American Journal of Public Health (Sept 2007 Vol 97 No 9). We as patients are told that there is a slight risk of this happening, but when you look at the number of wisdom tooth extractions being done each year, if the number of patients going home with permanent paresthesia is 1% (personally, I believe it is higher) then 10,000 or more people a year in the US alone are suffering from this post-operative condition.

"Ten million third molars (wisdom teeth) are extracted from
approximately 5 million people in the United States each year
at an annual cost of over $3 billion. In addition, more than 11
million patient days of “standard discomfort or disability”—
pain, swelling, bruising, and malaise—result postoperatively,
and more than 11000 people suffer permanent paresthesia—
numbness of the lip, tongue, and cheek—as a consequence
of nerve injury during the surgery

Last edited by charlottefr; 04-29-2008 at 12:56 AM.

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