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Face and Jaw Surgery

Swollen eye during extraction

08/02/2004

Question:

I had a decayed eye tooth ,underneath my bridge and had to have it extracted(and a new, bigger bridge). When the Dentist was extracting it , I felt a weird feeling go up my face into my eye. My eye felt really strange and I mentioned it to the Dentist,(I was wearing dark protective glasses)he said it was the anesthetic. Anyway, a little later he removed the glasses, my eye had swollen almost completely shut, and stayed swollen for several days. I think it must have damaged a nerve. I think it has now damaged the 4th tooth .(the one next to it) The tooth had no problem before the other tooth was extracted! He had to do a root canal on it before he seated my new bridge, now the it is bothering me again and keeps swelling and getting a little pimple on the gum. Now he is saying I need to go to an oral surgeon! Do you think the removal of the eye tooth could have damaged the other tooth, and could the anesthetic have made my eye swell? Or was it damaged removing the eye tooth?

Answer:

As you can imagine, it is extremely defficult for me to comment on what happened when, without the benefit of examining you before the procedure or witnessing what occurred at the time of the extraction.  It is possible that the swelling you described around the eye may have developed as the anesthetic was being injected into the area.  There is a large anatomic space in that location referred to as the canine space, which extends superiorly into the infraorbital region.  With the development of hydrostatic pressure, either from pus accumulated in an abscess or local anesthetic, the space can expand and create the swollen appearance. 

In regards to what happened to the second tooth in question, again it is extremely hard to comment without at least looking at your preoperative radiographs.  Many times, two or more teeth can be affected by an infectious process and during an acute episode of pain it may become very tricky to determine which tooth or teeth are involved in what is going on.  It may very well be that this other tooth was already causing problems, but because the other tooth was significantly more symptomatic, you were not able to "feel" the more minor problem, and now that the worse tooth is out, the problem with the other has finally come up to the surface. 

My advice to you: talk to your dentist and get the answers from him/her.  We, as health care providers want nothing but the best for our patients.  I always find that an open channel of communication between doctors and patients is the best way to put everyone's minds at ease.

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Response by:

Guillermo  E Chacon, DDS Guillermo E Chacon, DDS
Formerly:
Associate Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University