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Dental Anesthesia

Numb face 48 hours after filling



I recently had a small filling conducted on an upper tooth (4-5, I think, looking at a dental chart). But now, more than 48 hours later, the side of my face is still numb from the local anaesthetic injection I was given beforehand. This numbness is very worrying; and I haven`t been able to sleep since for the fear that I`ve suffered some sort of permanent damage to my nerves. I`ve never had any problem receiving local anaesthetic during dental treatment in the past and am also in good health. I`ve contacted my dentist and he has requested that I keep him updated with the status of my condition; but he didn`t actually explain what could have caused it nor how long it was likely to last. Could you help to enlighten me, please?

Thanks very much for your time.


I am sorry you are having difficulty. It is unusual for local anesthesia for upper teeth to cause nerve damage, let alone permanent nerve damage. Certainly, this could occur but I am not sure what anesthetic technique was used for if the tooth was 4 or 5, there really aren't any main nerve branches in the area. I would contact your dentist to determine what nerve may be involved.

The good news is that if nerve damage did occur, 99% resolve without any treatment. This may take weeks or months. A feeling of tingling or stinging in the area (like the feeling when your arm "falls asleep") is a good sign and indicates regeneration.

I wish you well, and the odds of complete recovery are clearly in your favor.

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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