Possible Consequences of Sensory Nerve Injury: Paresthesia

If there was ever a good time to have your impacted wisdom tooth extracted, it’s now. The advancements in modern dentistry and oral surgery have been remarkable, and that makes the procedure for having the wisdom teeth removed simpler and more predictable than ever.

Prior to your surgery, your oral surgeon will make every possible effort to ensure that you are well-informed, comfortable, and aware of the risks associated with the procedure. Even the most straightforward surgical procedure comes with risks, and understanding those risks in advance can keep you calm and comfortable should you experience an unavoidable occurrence.

During oral surgery, there is the potential for a disruption in the function of the sensory nerves in the treatment area. Sensory nerves are responsible for your ability to feel certain sensations in and around the mouth. These are not nerves that control movement of function.  When these nerves are disrupted, you may experience a number of short or long-term sensations, including the following:

  • Numbness (Anesthesia)
  • Tingling “pins and needles” sensation (Paresthesia)
  • Feeling as though the lips, tongue, chin, or gums have fallen asleep (Anesthesia)
  • An electric shock sensation
  • Burning (Dysesthesia)
  • Hypersensitivity to touch (Hyperesthesia)
  • Pain (Dysesthesia)

A sensory nerve injury, known as paresthesia – altered sensation, will create a tingling sensation, however a patient will be able to still have some sensation.  Smiling, speaking, and eating can still occur as usual, but these actions may feel different when the sensory nerves have been affected.

The symptoms of this type of nerve injury can be mild to severe, and they may last for a brief period of time or they can become permanent. In most cases, the appropriate sensations will return without the need for surgery or medications. However, when the nerve is unable to recover from the disturbance, a surgical repair may be necessary depending on the mechanism of the injury.

The thought of a nerve injury can be alarming. Just remember that any surgical procedure carries a slight risk, and your oral surgeon is prepared to identify and address a development such as paresthesia.

Contact the office of Dr. Steven Koos DDS, MD at 312-328-9000 to learn more about wisdom teeth extraction and the possible consequences.