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Portland, Oregon

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Numb Tongue From Wisdom Tooth Removal

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Most people have their wisdom teeth removed — the 3rd molars. If the teeth are removed wrong a patient can leave the oral surgery or dental office with a permanently numb tongue. The lingual nerve provides sensation, including taste, to the tongue.

If your tongue is still numb the day after your wisdom teeth have been removed, you should report the problem to the dentist or oral surgeon who removed your wisdom teeth and consider getting a second opinion from a facility that evaluates lingual nerve damage (OHSU and UW have the oral surgery departments). Make sure you have this evaluation right away if you are going to consider lingual nerve repair. Many oral surgeons who do the repairs believe there is better success on the repair surgeries with patients they see sooner and that it is ideal to repair the nerves within six months of injury.

Beware, some patients who have an injured lingual nerve are told that it was part of the consent form the patient signed or was a risk of the procedure — that is irrelevant. The only issue is whether the wisdom tooth removal was performed properly or not.