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Oral Surgery/Numbness in lips and chin

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Question
I'm a corrections officer who was assaulted approximately three months ago. I had a closed fracture of inferior maxilla, a lacerated upper lip approximately 3/4 inch and had my three upper teeth knocked out. I'm currently awaiting a bone graph of the maxilla so that implants can be introduced. My question to you is that after three months I still have numbness in my lips and chin, it constantly tingles  and feels fuzzy.  Is this normal and will this be a lifetime thing. I have been told it could be permanent or it could go away. Thank you for your time.

Answer
Mark  -without examining you I of course cannot be sure, but it seems that there was some direct trauma to the point where the nerves exit the bone.  The good news is that tingling and fuzziness is more an indication of a traumatic effect, versus a cut to the nerves.  With trauma, it will take some time, and unpredictable amount of time, for the nerves to return.  My suggestion is to try to increase the blood flow to the region to speed up the healing.  To do this, begin warm salt water rinses in the areas of the trauma for about 3-5 minutes, 4-5 times a day.  The warm salt water does much more than cleaning the area, it causes an increased blood flow to the region to precipitate a quicker healing.  

Look, there is a chance of permanency, but the fact that it us only tingly or fuzzy, versus a complete numbness, like a novocaine injection for dental treatment, should indicate an incomplete trauma to the nerves and a very good chance, that with time it should improve.  Will it get back to 100%?  I don't know without more directly examining you, but the warm salt water to increase the blood flow should encourage a quicker and more advanced healing.

I wish you well and hope within a few months you have complete healing.

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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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