One of the worst case scenarios imaginable is recovering from anaesthesia to realize that things are not as you left them. Upon examination you may realize that everything is more or less the same, it is just that they feel different, or not at all. This is an extremely bad problem, and is the most frequent cause of litigation in dental implantology, oral surgery and even during extractions. Here is what you need to know about this alarming problem. 

Symptoms and causes

Numbness and loss of feeling (hypoaesthesia) are caused by damage to the nerves. The same damage can cause permanent pain and discomfort, and also extra senses that are not there, but seem to be. Nerves can get damaged during oral surgery and dental implantation, but nerves that are close to the apical roots of teeth can also be damaged during root canal treatments. Extractions, particularly extraction of wisdom teeth, which so very often have many irregularly branching tooth roots are also a factor, as these complicated surgical extractions can damage the nerves. There are several nerves branching off from the TN, the nerve that runs in the face that can be damaged, as the tongue, the lips, the gums, and the muscles of the face all have very intricate nerves that are located all in the same place under the jaw. 

What to do

The problem will only make itself apparent once the anaesthetic wears off, and usually takes a few hours to realise. But once you are sure that you cannot feel something or can only feel it patchily, you need to go back to the dentist who initially saw you, and you may probably end up at a neurosurgeon. There they may might be able to help you, but it is equally likely that they will not. Nerve damage is irreversible, and there is not much that can be done if it happens. Damage control is very important though, so if you feel that you may have experienced some nerve damage, it is still very important to get to a doctor as soon as possible and handle the situation. The damage can cause speech impediments, permanent loss of feeling or pain, and also can cause problems like drooling, and difficulty eating. If you have suffered nerve damage, you should sue, as indemnity insurance will cover your costs.

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