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Dentistry/Wisdom Teeth Numbness/paresthesia

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QUESTION: I'm 20 years old and about a week ago I got all 4 wisdom teeth taken out. Around the 3rd day post-op my bottom right lip, chin, and about 3 teeth are still numb. Whenever I open my mouth all the way I can feel it tense up/spas. I was just wondering if this was normal. I'm afraid that it's either permanent numbness or it's going to take a while to recover completely. I heard of paresthesia and that it could take up to months to years to recover or it might not even recover at all. What are some sign/symptoms that tells me that the nerve damage is repairing itself, besides tingling? Are there any signs that say it will never repair itself? Is it too early to tell? Also, how common is paresthesia for people my age?

ANSWER: Kara -  Numbness if just due to trauma and not cutting of the nerve will take some time to heal, but some sensations should begin to occur within two months after the injury.  If the numbness is still profound close to two months, repair of the nerve may be necessary to regain normal nerve function.  Sensations of tingling, itch, burning, shocks are actually all positive signs that the nerve still has function.  If there are none of those sensations you will definitely need to see a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon who is proficient in repairing nerve injuries.  

If you don't have a surgeon you know of when you get close to that two month period get back to me, tell me where you live and I'll try to find one who evaluates the need to repair injury to the nerve and repairing of it.

I wish you well and hope by two months sensations return.  If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me again.

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

QUESTION: Just in case it doesn't come back within 2 months...do you know any nerve injury specialists in North Carolina in the Raleigh/Durham or Chapel Hill areas?
Thanks for all your help and info!

Answer
Kara -  My suggestion is that you make an appointment, if the numbness has not gotten better within two months, at  Univ of North Carolina Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.  Ask to be examined by either Dr. Timothy Turvey or Dr. George Blakey - Call: 919-966-1126

I hope it gets better on its own and nothing further needs to be done.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

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

Education/Credentials
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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