Ten days after getting wisdom teeth removed, I still have numbness in my lower left jaw. I called my dentist, and he said that the oral surgeon might have hit a nerve. The numbness makes it difficult to chew, eat, and brush my teeth. I do not return to the oral surgeon until ten more days. Is there anything I can do to improve the numbness? And how long will it continue? I am supposed to start Invisalign treatment in November. Katherine in Tulsa, OK
Thank you for contacting our office. Your dentist is correct—your jaw nerve is damaged. How long it takes to heal depends on the extent of the damage. No doubt, this is a frustrating experience, but it will take time and patience to heal.
What Causes Nerve Damage During Tooth Extraction?
Lower wisdom teeth roots are close to the nerve that travels beneath your lower teeth and lower lip. In some cases, the nerve touches tooth roots, and there is a risk of nerve damage during extraction. But an oral surgeon takes x-rays before surgery and can explain your risk. Your surgeon may have explained the risk or asked you to sign paperwork regarding it.
Types of Jaw Nerve Injury
The types of jaw nerve injury that can occur during tooth extraction including bruising, crushing, and severing. As you can see from the healing times below, please do not expect the feeling to return in your jaw and lip when you see your oral surgeon in ten days.
- Bruised– Numbness lasts about a month, then feeling in your jaw and lip will return
- Crushed – It can take up to a year to grown new nerve fibers and regain feeling in your jaw and lip
- Severed – The injury and numbness are permanent
As nerves recover, you will begin to feel tingling in your lip. There is nothing you can do to speed the healing process.
When Can You Begin Invisalign Treatment?
After your appointment with the oral surgeon, you will know the extent of nerve damage. The surgeon will send your dentist a report. And your dentist can determine if and how numbness will affect your Invisalign treatment plan.
Best wishes for your recovery.
Rekha Reddy, DDS of Dallas, sponsors this post.