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Face and Jaw Surgery

Prolonged numbness

04/21/2008

Question:

I had 4 wisdom teeth extracted about 5 days ago. I was given anesthesia to put me to sleep. However, some of the numbness has not worn off around my mouth and lip area. Is this something I should be concerned about or will it eventually wear off?

Answer:

Prolonged numbness with the extraction of wisdom teeth is usually associated either with the irritation or damage of the nerve that gives sensation of the lower lip, gums and teeth. This is dictated by the location of the wisdom tooth in relation to the nerve (inferior alveolar nerve) and the difficulty of removal of the wisdom teeth.

In general, the gum tissues take days to heal, bone takes weeks to heal and the nerves take months to heal. The complete recovery of the nerve is dictated by the extent of inflammation or damage to the nerve. This can be determined by your oral surgeon. Your history indicates that you have partial sensation which is a sign indicating that majority of the nerve sensation will return back. However, this would take few months to recover completely.

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Response by:

Likith V Reddy, MD, DDS, FACS Likith V Reddy, MD, DDS, FACS
Formerly:
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati