Numbness In The Mouth

Usually, our idea of a dental emergency is one of terrible toothache, unstoppable bleeding, sores or growths or other nasty and rather painful things in the mouth. But what of times when just the opposite is true, when we cannot feel anything at all in the mouth? How does this come about and is numbness a dental emergency?  

Dental numbness

Numbness around teeth or anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue is a sign of damage. The problem is, it is sign of a kind of damage that can very rarely be reversed; numbness in the mouth is a symptom of nerve damage. With our current medical technology, nerve damage cannot be reversed, and damaged nerves, although can be restored to health, cannot be restored to function again, as the link between the nerves, the synapses and pain in the body is rather tricky and is not entirely understood. With this in mind, I can say that just to be on the safe side, you should consider all instances of numbness in the mouth as a dental emergency, even though not all cases of numbness in the mouth are dental emergencies. However, when numbness in the mouth is a dental emergency, the threat is real, and the doctor needs to see your mouth in order to make sure that the best outcome can be secured. Here is a list of problems that can be the cause of numbness and loss of feeling in the mouth:

Food hypersensitivity

If you are allergic to certain foods, you may experience numbness when you eat the food you are sensitive to. This should receded quickly, unless you are exposed to too much of the offending substance, in which case you may enter a stage of shock, and the numbness can continue for longer. The problem is that this kind of numbness frequently affects the throat and the breathing apparatus, and as such is no joke. If you know you are allergic to an additive or a component which can sneakily end up in foods, carry an epipen, that ought to help. If the issue is not an allergy, but merely sensitivity, the symptoms should be less severe. Either way, if the numbness does not go away a few hours after coming into contact with the food, you should call an ambulance, and not a dentist. 

Chemical poisoning

There are many chemicals that make your mouth numb when it comes into contact with it. Most of them are poisonous, and the majority of those poisons are neurotoxins. Some of these chemicals are toxins used in maintaining agricultural products. Insecticides and herbicides as well as fungicides are frequently neurotoxins, and can cause this numbness. Certain shellfish also produce neurotoxins, and if prepared improperly, the neurotoxins will still be in the food when you eat it, causing numbness and possibly even pain. Tubatoxin is a poison that is made by many plants, and can also cause these symptoms of numbness. If you encounter this kind of numbness, call an ambulance or poison control to figure out what you need to do to keep safe, as you may have ingested neurotoxins.

Digestive problems

Numbness in the mouth, especially if coupled with pains or numbness in the esophagus and in the stomach or the midsection in general, is a sign of a digestive issue. This is unlikely to cause an emergency, but if you suffer from reflux disease, or have an enzyme or coenzyme deficiency, you should talk to your gastroenterologist immediately, as something maybe seriously wrong. 

Nerve damage

You can also feel numbness from nerve damage to the dental nerve. This can come about most frequently after a trauma. If you have recently had a trauma to the mouth, and are feeling numbness, you need to go and see a dentist immediately. Numbness can also result as a consequence of periodontitis, and it means that the bacteria are so deep that they are attacking the nerve, or are so close to the nerves that the the nerve has essentially shut off to protect itself. Numbness can also result after an extraction, and can be felt in the gingiva, the lips, the tongue or the cheeks. All of these are signs that the extraction has damaged your nerves, and you need to see the dentist to see what reparations, if any, can be made.

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