It’s been almost a week since I had multiple dental implants placed in my lower jaw. And I have a feeling I am in trouble. I should have known things were sketchy, when the implant dentist was running more than an hour behind. So, when he got to me, I think he was totally rushing and trying to make up time. He put the numbing gel on like normal, but I don’t think he waited long enough because he just wiped it off in less than 30 seconds and started the injections. I rolled with it but I must have flinched or something, because it hurt! Then, he went off into the lecture (rant) about how I need to be completely still for the dental implants to be successful. I’m freaking out at this point and probably should have ran out. I stuck it out and after several hours, I couldn’t feel my tongue. I expected to be somewhat sore but had not idea that I could be numb. Is this temporary? Is it common? Or am I going to need to go back and get them removed? Please let me know your thoughts. I cannot think about anything else.
-Jeff in Kansas
Unfortunately, from what you have described, nerve damage is a possibility. Numbness or nerve damage is possible with any dental surgery. But, based on the location of the implant site in the lower jaw, you could be dealing with a damaged lingual nerve. It is possible that the dental implant is the cause of the issue, but it may have actually occurred during the injection of the numbing agent. Many patients that have experienced this feeling, describe it as “lightning” when the nerve is first hit. But everyone is different and pain tolerances vary, as well.
But there is some good news. This type of nerve damage shouldn’t be permanent. If it did indeed occur during the injection, think of it like the nerve is bruised or injured. The needles don’t go that deep, so the nerve should heal on it’s own. You can expect some recovery in the next two to three weeks. But in some cases, patients have had lingering numbness over a year to 18 months. And worse case scenario would be that it doesn’t heal on it’s own.
You need to let your dentist know what you are experiencing. Some anti-inflammatory medication may be helpful, but he needs to know what is happening. You don’t need to have the dental implants replaced and you should recover without any other intervention. Thank you for sharing. Hopefully this helps put your mind at ease.
This post is sponsored by Barrington cosmetic dentist James T. Gavrilos, DDS.