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Oral Surgery/Mandibular Nerve Injury Following Jaw Tumor Surgery

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Question
Hi - I had a bone tumor (luckily found to be an ossifying fibroma) removed from my mandible three weeks ago. It was laying on top of my mandibular nerve under tooth 20 and I was warned that I'd likely have permanent nerve damage after the procedure. I had a root canal performed pre-surgery so that the bottom of the tooth could be removed as it was surrounded by the tumor. During the tumor removal surgery, the nerve was not cut, but was definitely compressed when the surgeon removed some of the tumor which was under the nerve. I have increased sensation since the surgery, including feeling pins and needles, burning and sudden strong shocks of pain to my lip and chin. I know these are good signs, but am wondering what the average time is for the nerve to fully heal as the current state of the nerve is quite uncomfortable? I don't think I am swollen anymore, had no bruising, etc. Thank you. Cindy

Answer
Cindy -  I am glad for you that the nerve was not permanently injured.  Depending on the type and intensity of the trauma to the nerve, numbness and the secondary effects of pins and needles, burning and shocks can last 6 months.  Usually it calms down quicker, but the outside time would be approximately six months.  So be patient and the nerve should regain normal function soon.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired

Expertise

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.

Experience

Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

Organizations
American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Education/Credentials
BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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