Oral Surgery/Numb Tongue


QUESTION: My 19 year old daughter had 4 wisdom teeth out 14 months ago and her tongue has been numb on the right half since then.  She has lost her sense of taste and she is having sharp pains.  We went and saw Dr. Girod at Stanford and after speaking to a Micro-Surgeon there he stated that he has never done this surgery.  I am looking for someone in California to perform the surgery.  I have contacted all of the Dental Schools in CA and they were unable to suggest a surgeon.  Can you give me the name of any Dr. in CA who has experience in this surgery?  I would greatly appreciate your help.

ANSWER: Leslie - I too have looked for surgeons in California who perform lingual nerve repair and it has been difficult to find such a doctor.  There are doctors elsewhere in the U S who do this surgery.  If you are willing, I would be happy to send you names of doctors elsewhere in the states who are experienced and skilled in this surgery.

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QUESTION: I am aware of a Dr. Martin Steed in Atlanta who seems to have the most published data of anyone doing this surgery, but when I called to see if he would still perform the surgery after 14 months, they said I would have to fly out for a consulation.  That is a long way to go if he told would tell us that 14 months was too long to wait.  Can you recommend someone in Oregon, Nevada, or Arizona?  I read somewhere that there are other remdedies for this problem such as corticosteroids, topical applications, nerve blocking, tricyclic antidepresants and membrane stabilizing medications. No one has ever offered these solutions.  Do you know anything about them?

Dr. Pogrel at UCSF said he would not perform the surgery because it has been over 9 months.  Do you know anything about a Joel Berger in San Diego?

I greatly appreciate your help.


Leslie -  First of all, Dr. Pogrel is correct that nerve repair more than a couple of months after the nerve injury is very difficult to achieve success.  It should have been recommended by the doctor who did the extractions, that if the numbness continues close to two months, nerve repair should have been attempted then.  

A number of years ago I did recommend someone, with a similar nerve injury, who contacted me on this site, to a doctor in Portland, Oregon.  She had surgery and it seemed to have been mostly successful.  I am going to provide the doctor's name.  I don't know if he still does that surgery, but contact him.  Just so you know, she was treated within 2-3 months.

Dr. Leon Assael - Oregon Health Science University, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery - Portland, Oregon - (503)494-3497.

I wish you well and hope you can be helped.

By the way, I do not know of Dr. Berger or his history of nerve repair.

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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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