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Dental Anesthesia

Total Loss of Taste and Smell after Novocain



Two days ago I had prolonged dental work (4 hours, prep for 7 crowns, 2 bridges) and repeated injections of novocaine. I have been without taste and smell since.

Can either sense be expected to return? If not, is there any known treatment?


 Taste can be affected by local anesthetic injection for the lower jaw but usually there is some residual numbness to the tongue.

Smell, however, should not be affected. The nerves that carry taste to the front 2/3 of the tongue travel with the nerve that carries sensation to the tongue. If this is the cause, taste usually returns in several weeks. In rare cases, the deficit can be permanent.

You should contact your dentist to notify him or her of your symptoms. It may be that this is unrelated to dental work as well, especially since smell is compromised. In this case, ENT consultation would be appropriate. Good luck!

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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