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Dentistry/Still Numb on bottom lip/chin


QUESTION: 8 days ago I got all 4 wisdom teeth pulled, ever since then when I open my mouth I feel tugging/straining (maybe it's the mandibular nerve)and my lip and chin is still numb. Is the feeling of the "tugging" a good thing? How long will this take to heal? Will it ever heal? Is this common/normal or unusual?

ANSWER: Brooke -  The tugging is not from a nerve injury.  Usually that feeling, so soon after the extractions, is usually due to spasms of the jaw muscles, as a reaction to the surgery, or it could be from excess internal pressures from internal bleeding.  This sensation should get better soon, but to quicken the healing begin warm salt water rinses for about 1-2 minutes, 4-5 times a day.  

As far as the lip and chin being numb, it is important to monitor it.  The doctor who removed the wisdom teeth should know about it an monitor it.  If no changes or improvements have occurred by two months after the extractions, repair of the nerve might be appropriate to regain normal feelings.  So stay aware of the numbness and monitor the time.  As you get close to two months, if no changes occur (twitching, shocks, burning sensations), you need to be examined by a skilled board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me again.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for you quick response. Just wondering, since the tugging and the numbness are in the same exact spot on my lip/chin could the numbness also be caused by spasms of the jaw muscles and/or excess internal pressures from internal bleeding or is it definitely a nerve injury (for the numbness)?

How long does it usually take for the "tugging" to heal/go away? I know the numbness could take longer.

Luckily my numbness is 10% better since day 1, so it's getting better, slowly but surely I guess!

Brooke -  unfortunately, the numbness is not caused by spasms of the nerve.  Internal bleeding can occasionally cause spasms if the muscles are inflamed.  You ccan accentuate the healing of the spasms by simply beginning a regimen of warm salt water rinses for about 4-5 minutes, 4-5 times a day. Concentrate the rinses in the area of the extraction and towards the back of the jaw behind the wisdom teeth.  

I am so happy to hear that improvement in the numbness is occurring.  Do the rinses and the tugging should also get better soon.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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