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Oral Surgery/tongue numbness



I had a right lower (next to last tooth) extracted on Saturday, March 2, 2014. It had a crown on it with 2 previous root canals. It became abscessed again, so instead of dealing with it anymore had it pulled. He gave me a block and a few other injections. I waited for 40 minute(while he worked on someone else), apologized and numbed me again next to the tooth. It has been 4 days and the numbness has not left my left side of tongue. I called and he prescribed steroids, tomorrow is my last dose and no improvement. Will I recover and when? Also, what oral surgeon near Columbus Ohio deals with this?

ANSWER: Kim -  The lingual nerve, the nerve that provides sensations to the tongue, can sit on the tongue side of the jaw bone or it can be at the site of the injections.  In either situation the nerve sounds to be traumatized.  How traumatized or if it is cut, I cannot tell you, but if the nerve was mildly traumatized you should have developed sensations, such as, burning of the tongue, itching of the tongue small shocks to the tongue.  If, however, the numbness you now have lasts, like yours now has for almost two months, it may mean that the nerve is more injured and possibly cut.  At this point, almost two months after the surgery it has not improved, it is important that a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon evaluate if a repair of the nerve is necessary.

Kim you are fortunate to be in Columbus, Ohio where, at the Ohio State University College of Dentistry.  At the school Dr Peter Larsen is the chairman of the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery and he should be the best one to examine you and arrive at a solution.  You can call (614) 292-9731 and ask to be examined by him.  

I wish you well and hopefully they can arrive at a solution.  If you need additional names of doctors or you have questions, feel free to contact me again.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Actually it was April 26, 2014 (1 week ago today), when I had the extraction. By when should I be concerned that the numbness has not worn off? Not sure why March 2, 2014 came up as date, but that is incorrect.

Kim -  You have a little time.  If by the end of May there is no change, then seeing a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon to properly evaluate you situation.

So you have a little time to allow natural healing, but don't forget the problem and if still present by the end of May, have it evaluated.

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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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