There is a chance of nerve damage during extraction of wisdom tooth. It leads to the numbness of your lip, chin, check, teeth, and/or tongue. In medical terms it is known as “paresthesia”. The wisdom teeth may be positioned in our jaw so as it lies in the proximity of nerves. Sometime during extraction, it is bruised or damaged. Dentists advise that wisdom teeth be removed when a patient is young as its roots continues to form and develop in their twenties and it is tough to extract without hampering surrounding tissues including nerves. In teenagers it is found rare and higher for people above age 35. It typically does not happen but can happen. Injection for local anesthesia may even cause it. The nerve damage is temporary in
some cases and the nerve heals itself where as the nerve is left permanently damaged in other cases.
Typically it happens on the lower jaw more than the upper. It all depends on the severity of the nerve damage and what nerve was damaged and how far away from the area that the loss of sensation is occurring. The nerves which are typically placed at greatest risk during wisdom tooth removal are the mandibular and lingual nerves. The mandibular nerve is present in the lower jaw at both the sides and at the tip of the roots of the lower teeth. It then eventually branches out and runs to the lip and chin. Its damage may cause tingling, tickling, or numbness on a side of the tongue. The lingual nerve helps to sense pain and temperature in the mouth. Its damage affects the ability to taste. Dentists or surgeons use an instrument called a lingual nerve retractor to move the nerve out of the way during surgery but it increases the risk of damage. Its damage can cause tingling, tickling, or numbness of half the lower lip and chin on the affected side.
According to a survey, in two out of 100 people after wisdom teeth removal, the numbness caused by nerve damage remains permanent, whereas others regain feeling. Sadly, how much time it takes to regain sensation cannot be assured to any patient. It all depends on the severity of damage to nerves and what nerve was damaged and how far away from the area that the loss of sensation is occurring. Though a chance of permanent nerve damage is very low, but patient should be aware of it.