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Oral Surgery/Tongue paresthesia 8 months after wisdom tooth extraction

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Hi Dr. Ryan,

I am just under 20 years old. In July of 2012, I had my wisdom teeth extracted under general anesthesia. All four were fairly impacted - especially the upper and lower right third-molars. They started coming in when I was 11 or 12 (very early) and stopped progressing by the time I was 15; so, they were stuck in there for a long time. I would have gotten them out earlier however, I wasn't able to qualify for medicaid until I was 'on my own.'

It has now been just about 8 months since my surgery. Directly following the surgery, I was treated for a minor infection on the right side of my mouth; however, my general dentist did the treatment because the surgeon that performed my extractions does not routinely do follow-ups (he serves medicaid patients all across NC and doesn't have a 'set' office). I no longer have medicaid, so even if I wanted to schedule a follow up or consultation with another surgeon... I cannot. There has been some minor improvement. My tongue was completely dead-numb for the first 3 months and I had a lot of issues with biting it. Then, I started getting a small amount of tingling and that is when my oral surgeon (over phone) told me that I should no longer worry. Since, I have not had much improvement at all. I do not taste on the majority of that side of my mouth and I do not really sense temperature or sharp objects. I feel as though there MAY be a slow amount of progress being made. But, looking back, I can't tell much of a noticeable difference in the last 5 months.
What is the likelihood that I will re-gain feeling/taste back?
Had I been told that the position of my teeth, in particular, increased the likelihood of this happening... I would've re-considered. Plus, the antibiotic treatment before/after the surgery, and the time in the hospital that day, opened the doorway for me to get c-diff, which I just got rid of last month. Overall - a nightmere.
Any suggestions as to what steps I should take would be great.

Thank you,
Jade

Answer
Jade, Thank you for your question. It is impossible for my to give your specific advice regading the recovery of the nerve. The best one that could do that would be the surgeon who took out your teeth. I would recommend that you seek a second opinion. You might try a dental school in your state. They usually will see patients like you for very cheep or with minimal cost. I hope that helps.

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James M. Ryan. DDS, MS; Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Expertise

Dr. Ryan's expertise is in the field of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Specifically, Dr. Ryan is an expert in Orthognathic Surgery. He holds uniques experience as the former Assistant Program Director of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Training Program at Washington Hospital Center where he trained residents to perform these complicated surgical procedures. Additionally, Dr. Ryan also has a tremendous amount of experience in reconstruction of the maxillofacial skeleton related to trauma and tooth loss. Dr. Ryan is an expert in 3 dimensional treatment planning for Orthognathic Surgery, Dental Implant Surgery and Wisdom Teeth removal. To learn more about Dr. Ryan, his full profile can be seen at www.eosdds.com

Experience

Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery with current hospital affiliations at: Washington Hospital Center Holy Cross Germantown Hospital National Institute of Health/NIDCR

Organizations
American Dental Association. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. District of Columbia Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. District of Columbia Dental Society. American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Health Volunteers Overseas.

Publications
Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Journal of The American Dental Association

Education/Credentials
S.U.N.Y @ Stony Brook- B.S. in Biochemistry, Stony Brook, NY. Northeastern University- M.S. in Perfusion Technology, Boston, MA. D.D.S.- New York University College of Dentistry, New York, NY. Certificate and Chief Resident- Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC. Clinical Fellow- The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD.

Awards and Honors
Dr. Ryan has received numerous awards including: 2006 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Dental Student Award, Washington Hospital Center 2008 Nurses' Choice Physician Collaboration Award, 2009 Resident Research Summit Scholarship Award, and the 2011 Outstanding Surgical Attending in the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at Washington Hospital Center. He has also authored/coauthored and published several journal articles and held several teaching positions,including assistant professor, while at NYUCD.

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