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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Numb & Burnt Tongue after Root Canal



I had a root canal 12 days ago. Afterward, I noticed that my tongue is still numb on that side. The endo looked at it and said he probably hit the nerve.

In addition, there are a couple of red spots on my tongue that are sore and the taste buds seemed to be flat. I had some hot soup that day. If I burned them on the soup, would it take this long to heal? The endo didn`t know.

I also had 6 x-rays of that area - 3 by my regular dentist and 3 by the endo. Could that harm my tongue?


Let's start with the numb tongue. It is reasonably common when numbing the lower jaw to hit the nerve with the needle. Depending on the type of anesthetic, residual numbness can last for a few days to weeks. Generally speaking, it will return to full sensation. Yes, that does mean that there is a chance that it will not return, but that is quite rare.

The taste bud issue could be from very minor trauma during the root canal or placement of the rubber dam. It could also be from a rough spot on your tooth. If it is the tooth, it will not heal until the source of the irritation is remedied. If it occurred during the root canal, it should be better by now. I do not believe that the x-rays would have caused it.

Good luck.

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Response by:

Daniel Nathan Reed, DDS Daniel Nathan Reed, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University