Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Expert Forum
Numb tongue after dental fillings
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Questions in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery forum are answered by Dr. Michael H Kirsch and Dr. Mario Tuchman. Topics covered include teeth extractions, wisdom teeth, dental implants, bone grafting, orthognathic surgery, facial bones realignment, facial trauma repair, jaw alignment, anesthesia , jaw cyst or tumor diagnosis, reconstructive jaw surgery, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) and TMJ surgery.

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Numb tongue after dental fillings

I went to the dentist to have a filling re-done.  Twice I had to go back to the dentist and have them adjust the filling. It still hurt.  So the 4th time I asked them to just re-do it. When he put the Novocain in it hurt really bad and my arm flew up to stop him from doing the injection and they held me arm down out of the way. I have never had that reaction before when getting numbed.  That was Tuesday. Now it is Sunday and my tongue is still numb.  Everything else he numbed worn off except my tongue.  I think he hit the lingual nerve from what I keep reading. It feels like I burned my tongue on hot tea. Of course I went online and started reading threads and found that this can take days, weeks, or even months to go away and can actually be permanent?  Now of course I am scared my mouth is numb for life!  I'm so scared. I have been crying since Thursday when I realized this wasn't normal. I have an appt with my dentist tomorrow to have him take a look although I can't imagine he is going to be able to do anything.  

What can I do?  I heard that this happening is like winning the lottery.  How could I be so unlucky?  I can't imagine going through this for months and possibly forever.  Do I see an oral surgeon? Do I see a neurologist?

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I do not find anything incorrect in what you stated in your question.  An injury to the lingual nerve by the injection is most likely the cause.  And yes it is exceedingly rare.  

You are also correct that your dentist is unlikely to be of any help in resolving this.  There are Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons who have special training and experiencing in dealing with injuries and repairs of this type.   Some studies have shown that the sooner you have the repair the better the outcome.

Having said that, you should call an oral surgeon as soon as possible and ask them the name of someone in your area that can help you.  You can also call the oral surgery department of the closest dental school or your states society of oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Extremely few of these rare injuries are permanent but requires prompt intervention nonetheless.

Information contained within this reply is intended solely for general educational purposes and is not intended nor implied to be a medical diagnosis or treatment recommendation.  This is not a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical condition or question. Always seek the advice of your own doctor for medical condition. Only your doctor can provide specific diagnoses and therapies.
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Michael H Kirsch, DDSBlank
Dr. Michael H. Kirsch
Caldwell, NJ
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