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Dentistry/Novocain numbness that won't wear off!


In June I had a dental procedure for restoring/building a crown on my upper left tooth. The dentist gave me several shots of Novocain and upper and lower teeth and gums got very numb. Two months later my lower lip is still tingling as if the Novocain is just beginning to wear off, but doesn't. The upper tingling and numbness finally is just about gone. This lower numbness feels permanent! What do I do and who do I see for it? My dentist, a very good prosthodontist, has never seen this before. Help! I do a lot of public speaking and it feels just awful. I live in Rockland County, NY.

Dear Judy:
This is so unfortunate.  Very Very rarely, a nerve can be traumatized during an infection.  When the dentist gives you an infection, especially a mandibular block to anesthetize your lower jaw and consequently your lower lip, the needle has to pass between muscles and it is impossible for the dentist to know what is encountered along the way.  The nerve passes between the muscles and hangs like a "noodle".  Usually, when the needle passes close to it, it just moves out of the way, but if the needle does touch, or nick it, it will cause an injury. Try to catch a wet noodle with a fork in a plate... you'll never get it, but once in a lifetime, you will. Most times, the alerted sensation, or numbness passes within a few days.  However, rarely, the injury can be semi permanent, or very rarely, permanent.  Since the injury in your case did not happen during a surgical procedure, where the nerve could have been cut, physically, I'm inclined to believe that your sensation will return.
There are two people to consult in this case. First, ask your orthodontist for an oral surgeon whom he trusts.  After the evaluation by the oral surgeon, he might refer you to a neurologist for testing.
Be hopeful.
I wish you the very best of luck,


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Zev Kaufman, D.D.S.


I can answer any question from simple routine dentistry to very complex dentistry with emphasis on reconstructive, cosmetic, and implant dentistry. My expertise is in co-ordination of very complex treatment plans with other dental specialists or as a one-man-team, since I have extensive training in Prosthodontics, Surgical Implantology, and orthodontics.


Over a decade in private practice of Surgical Implantology and Prosthodontics. Founder and owner of Prosthodontics & Implant Surgery of Manhattan, PC. Clinical Assistant Professor at the Post-Graduate Department of Periodontics & Implant Dentistry at New York University College of Dentistry. Lecture weekly since 1999 on advanced Implant Prosthodontics at New York University College of Dentistry Post-Graduate Program in Periodontics & Implant Dentistry. Former clinical assistant professor of Dental Radiology at the NYU College of Dentistry. Former clinical and lecture faculty at Lincoln Hospital, Dental residency program. Former clinical and lecture faculty at St. Barnabas Hospital (Bronx, NY) dental residency program. Lecture nationally on Prosthodontics and Implant Dentistry.

Memeber of the American College of Prosthodontics. Memeber of the Acacdemy of Osseointegration. Member or the Omikron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) Honors Dental Society. Member of the American Dental Education Association.

Graduated with Honors from New York University College of Dentistry. Post-Graduate training and certificate in the specialty of Prosthodontics. Post-Graduate training and ceritificate in Surgical and Prosthetic Implant Dentistry. Honors-program in Comprehensive and Applied Practice Management. Honors-program in Orthodontics.

Awards and Honors
NYU Cervice award to the community. OKU honor society. National Dean's List. National Who's Who.

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