Injury to the
peripheral sensory branches of the trigeminal nerve (nerves that
provide feeling to the face and oral structures) are known
complications of a variety of dental and oral and maxillofacial
surgical procedures, including third molar (wisdom teeth)
removal, endodontic (root canal) procedures, dental implant
placement, facial trauma, and other oral and facial procedures.
Nerve injuries are an inherent risk of any surgical or dental
procedure and may occur despite the best of care provided.
The most commonly injured nerves are:
Nerve injury (usually a numb tongue)
Alveolar Nerve injury (usually a numb lip/chin and gums)
The patient with a
nerve injury may experience a variety of sensations, most of
them unpleasant. Numbness, tingling, burning, crawling
sensations, electric shocks, or hypersensitivity of the affected
area may be the result of a nerve injury. These sensations may
interfere with normal chewing, drinking of liquids, speaking,
eating, shaving, or kissing, and they are distressing to the
patient. Such symptoms, if persistent beyond several months
following the initial injury, may indicate a nerve injury that
will not resolve on its own and should be evaluated further.
Initial treatment of
trigeminal nerve injuries involves close monitoring of symptoms
and neurosensory testing. The optimal window of opportunity to
surgically repair a trigeminal nerve injury with the highest
rate of success is three months after the initial injury.
Specialized microsurgical techniques have been developed
to attempt to improve the environment in which the nerve endings
heal and provide a better chance for recovery of sensation. The
goal is to be able to identify early on, those injuries that
will not spontaneously resolve and prevent irreversible damage.
nerve injuries have been shown to improve either partially or
completely without surgical intervention. Your
surgeon will discuss with you after completion of your
examination, the type of nerve injury you have, the possible
operation or other methods of treatment to correct it, and the
outlook for improvement of sensation.
The Oral Facial Surgery Institute
has four convenient locations to meet your needs.