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Question
Last Wednesday I went to the dentist to finish a root canal on my eye tooth (canine). I am very hard to numb so she used a lot of novocaine. I noticed when i left that the left side of my nose was swollen. Didnt think anthing of it since it was a forward tooth. Around 6 pm I took a Percocet for pain and went to bed.thursday morning I woke up and my left side face was swollen and still numb. I went back to dentist and she took an X-ray said my sinus was bad gave me a steroid pack and amoxicillin   Friday I went to primary. She didn't seem worried that I was still numb. Friday night got some feeling back but nose and lip still numb today is Sunday and still numb in nose and lip. Could there be nerve damage.  Should I see a neurologist. There is still some swelling in my eye area and lower cheek. Really freaked out and it feels like I will be like this forever.

Answer
Good morning Jeanette,

I'm sorry to hear you are going through all this can certainly understand you being freaked out. Since I can't exam you, I can't be sure of what is going on, but I can certainly explain a few things from what I have seen in my practice.

When you receive a lot of injections, two pretty common things can happen and from what you describe, you may have had both happen. If the needle hits a blood vessel, the vessel can rupture can blood and fluids will move into the tissue. When that happens, swelling will occur and the pressure on the tissues can cause pain. This pressure can also cause the nerves in the area to not work right because the pressure shuts down the ability of the nerves to feel sensations, in other words, you will feel numb. This will last until the swelling goes down and things return to normal. The fact that you are getting some sensation back is a good sign. I can't tell you how long it will take to get back to normal because all patients heal at a different rate.

Another thing that could be contributing to your numbness could be that your dentist had a "bull's eye" with the needle and actually hit the nerve she was trying to numb. We don't see that very often in the area around canine, but it can happen. If so, the needle can do some temporary nerve damage that would also take some time to heal. In the meantime, the area will feel numb. Once again, the fact that you are feeling some return of feeling, is a good thing.

I suspect that as the days go by your swelling will decrease and your feeling will return. We see this kind of thing in my office and it can be very scary for the patient......and the dentist too :-).

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

Dentistry

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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD

Expertise

I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.

Experience

25 years practicing as a specialist

Organizations
American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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