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Oral Surgery/Lingual nerve damage


Eleven days ago I had a third molar extraction. Following the procedure, I had lingual nerve damage. My tongue has a cramp on the underside of my tongue enabling me to open my mouth. When I open a small bit, the cramp and razor feeling strikes and forces me to close my mouth. My dentist prescribed clindamycin hcl, methylprednisolone and Motrin 600 mg. I am only able to drink. Will I be back to normal soon eating regular food? I worry about eating healthy foods and at the moment only the tip of my small pinky finger can fit between my teeth.

Dana - The good news is that from your description, that you do not say that you are numb, it usually means that the nerve was more traumatized than actually cut.  If you were numb, the nerve would days or a few weeks, while some never heal (those are usually those who are completely numb).  If there is no improvement within a couple of weeks (that improvement might be less striking of the crampy feeling)you should then be evaluated by a neurologist.  If the nerve was cut, a surgeon would need to repair, but from your symptoms it seems that your problem was trauma.

So for now do nothing other than to do warm salt water rinsing in your mouth for 2-3 minutes 4-5 times a day.  The rinsing with warm water increases the blood flow and that can promote a quicker healing.

So because it is only 11 days since the injury you need to be patient.  Do the warm salt water rinse but if there is no change by one month, see the neurologist.  Please keep in touch with me and let me know how you are doing.  Hopefully I might be able to come up withy suggestions to speed your healing.

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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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