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Oral Surgery/How to help promote nerve regeneration in lower lip and jawline post surgery

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Question
Hi,
I am posting this question on behalf of, husband who had surgery approximately 9 weeks ago to repair a fractured jaw following complications from a severely impacted wisdom tooth extraction. He was on a liquid diet for 8 weeks and is just now starting to eat real food. Thank goodness the swelling is almost gone but he continues to experience numbness on his lower lip and along his jaw line. Surgeon has assured him that ongoing numbness is normal and that it regenerates very slowly, like 1 mm every few days.i am wondering if there is anything he could do to promote the healing process. He does have a permanent titanium plate in his lower jaw.   Typical male , he does not want to cause a fuss or be a pain to anyone but I can tell that even he is getting discouraged with the length of the recovery.  His jaw is still quite sore at the end of everyday. Would massage with a small vibrator be of any help? His bit is a little  bit off and he is contemplating seeing the dentist again to have one tooth slightly adjusted.  Also wondering if going for gentle massage with a. Trained mt is worth investigating. I hate to think that he will  be like this for the rest of his life. He is 56 year old healthy male, thanks for your time.

Answer
Isabelle - Numbness after suffering a fractured mandible occurs usually just due to trauma.  The numbness your husband has might have occurred from the surgeon applying excess pressure causing the fracture or he could have cut the nerve during the fracture.  

The most important this at this stage is for your husband to see if not only does he have numbness, but if he has itchiness of the numb area or even little electric shocks.  The itch and shocks are good signs that he nerve was not cut through, but may have been nicked or just a lot of pressure on it.  If nothing changes by two months, that is usually not a good sign.  Many surgeons attempt to repair damaged nerves if numbness is still present at two months after injury.  

I wish I could tell you what is appropriate for your husband, but the surgeon needs to objective and make a proper decision.  Getting a second opinion might not be a bad idea if you do not get information from the surgeon.

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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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