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Oral Surgery/pain after wisdom teeth extraction


Hi, I had 4 wisdom teeth out on January 3rd. The pain was horrendous from the beginning and required a trip to the ER and 9 days of double dose lortab that I slowly weaned down. It is now two weeks after surgery and I am still in a ton of pain. My surgeon says there is no physical reason I should be in so much pain- it was an easy extraction, and there is no evidence of infection or dry socket. He put dressings with oil of clove in several times and that did help the pain a little bit. My history includes a nerve problem in the past where I had damaged a nerve in my ankle that caused me a severe amount of pain for a year and a half. I did a month of pain rehab, and was on neurontin for it which helped a lot. I am wondering how likely it is that during surgery the surgeon accidentally dinged the nerve- which in my case could be enough to cause me a similar injury to the one I had 2 years ago in my ankle. I tried asking my surgeon but he was evasive with his answer. This could be important for when I go see pain management- whether there was a direct injury to the nerve makes a huge difference in diagnosis and treatment in cases like this. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?

Johannah - The proximity of the mandibular nerve to the ends of the roots of lower wisdom teeth vary, but there is a chance that during the extraction minor pressure trauma to the nerve occurred.  If the nerve itself was affected by being cut, you would have numbness of the lower lip and chin.  

It sounds like the surgeon is not sure what happened to produce these symptoms.  To determine if direct trauma did occur, a CT scan might be beneficial.  I wish I could give you a simple solution, but with your history, seeing a pain management facility should help.  I wish I could tell you more, but I would have to examine you to possibly pick up additional information.

I hope you feel better soon.  Just so you know, if minor trauma to the nerve occurred to produce the symptoms, it may take 1-2 months to get better on its own.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon 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 practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at 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 Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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