Can Wisdom Tooth Removal Cause Nerve Damage?

Posted by Dr. John Paul Gallardo, DDS, PA
After a wisdom teeth surgery is not common to have nerve damage. To avoid this, an experienced dental surgeon must do the procedure.
Wisdom tooth extraction can rarely result in nerve damage

Wisdom tooth extraction is an elective procedure, but it’s extremely common. Most people, at some point, have their wisdom teeth removed for various reasons. But they are understandably concerned about the discomfort involved and possible complications. One common fear is that “wisdom tooth” extraction will cause nerve damage, but is this a legitimate fear?

One of the reasons to get a wisdom tooth removal Miami is having impacted teeth, which do not emerge above the gum and cause numerous problems. Another reason is experiencing decay since they are difficult to clean and impractical to fill. Still, other patients have their wisdom teeth removed proactively to help prevent problems later in life.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery

Miami wisdom teeth removal is a relatively straightforward procedure. First, the dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the area around the wisdom tooth. Then, they will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and its root. The dentist will then use special tools to loosen the tooth from its socket and remove it.

During this process, blood vessels may be damaged, and a blood clot forms in the empty socket. Finally, the dentist will stitch up any incisions made in the gum tissue and provide instructions for post-operative care.

Side effects of wisdom tooth removal

After the wisdom tooth extraction, patients may experience minor bleeding and slight pain. Pain management is important to ensure a speedy recovery. Patients should take any prescribed medications as directed and use an ice pack to reduce swelling. Additionally, it is important to stick to soft foods for the first few days after the medical procedure. Eating hard or crunchy foods can cause further damage to the area and delay healing.

Though nerve damage is a potential side effect, it is uncommon for someone to experience it during the removal of wisdom teeth. The procedure may cause harm to nerve tissues by bruising or cutting them. To reduce the risk of complications, it is best to opt for an experienced oral surgeon.

Symptoms such as pain, excess bleeding, and inflammation can signal nerve damage.
Severe pain and swelling are symptoms of a possible nerve injury

Age Matters in Nerve Damage

The risk for paresthesia, or nerve damage, is low with wisdom teeth removal Miami. The incidence rate of this complication is estimated to be around 0.2%, and the success rate of surgical removal is generally high.

Younger patients usually experience fewer postoperative complications with wisdom teeth extraction, which is why it’s so commonly done on teenagers and young adults.

By age 25, the teeth have fully formed, and the roots are longer. The difficulty of tooth extraction is increased, raising the possibility of complications such as nerve injury for the patient.

Symptoms of Nerve Damage after Wisdom Teeth Removal

Patients who experience nerve damage after wisdom tooth extraction may feel severe pain in the area. Excessive bleeding and soft tissue swelling are also recurrent symptoms. To reduce swelling and discomfort, apply ice packs to the affected area for 15 minutes at a time throughout the day. If the pain persists or worsens, contact your oral surgeon immediately.

In extreme cases, the extraction of wisdom teeth can lead to tingling or numbness in the area due to sensory nerve damage. This is caused by the disruption of the nerve pathways that control sensation and movement in the jaw muscles. Loss of sensation or movement in the jaw muscles may also occur.

Dental Nerves Possibly Affected

Dental nerves can potentially become injured or damaged during the procedure, and these nerves control feeling in the tongue, lower lip, and chin.

Trigeminal Nerve

The trigeminal nerve is the main nerve responsible for sensation in the face and can be affected during wisdom tooth removal. Damage to this nerve can cause a decrease in sensation in the lower lip, chin, and tongue. 

Inferior Alveolar Nerve

The inferior alveolar and mental nerves can be affected during wisdom tooth removal, especially if the teeth are impacted. These nerves control sensation in the lower jaw and chin, respectively. To reduce the risk of nerve damage, an oral surgeon may administer a local anesthetic or inferior alveolar nerve block to numb the area before beginning the procedure. This helps to minimize any potential discomfort or pain that could occur during the extraction of impacted wisdom teeth.

Lingual Nerve

The lingual nerve is a branch of the mandibular nerve that runs through the lower jaw and can be affected during wisdom tooth removal. Lingual nerve damage can cause a decreased sensation in the tongue and numbness or tingling. 

When considering wisdom tooth removal, it is important to be aware of the potential complications that may arise. To reduce the risk of potential nerve damage, it is best to seek out a skilled and experienced surgeon for the procedure. Dental treatment should be sought out if any symptoms of nerve damage occur after the surgery. With proper care and attention, wisdom tooth extraction Miami can be a safe and successful procedure with minimal risks.

Solutions for Treating Nerve Damage after Wisdom Teeth Removal

If nerve damage after a tooth extraction is suspected, there are treatment options available.

Dental surgery and a nerve graft are dental solutions to repair a damaged nerve.
Surgical repair may be necessary to treat a nerve injury

Minor nerve damage

In most cases, minor nerve damage caused by wisdom teeth extraction is a normal reaction to dental surgery and will resolve itself within a few days. Fortunately, many patients experience spontaneous recovery of sensation in the affected area within a few days after surgery.

Major nerve damage 

In some cases, major nerve damage may require surgical repair to restore sensation and function to the affected area. 

A nerve graft may be necessary to repair the damaged nerve. This involves taking a healthy nerve from another part of the body and using it to bridge the gap between the two ends of the damaged nerve.

Also, physical therapy may be recommended to help restore movement and sensation in the affected area. It can help strengthen weakened muscles and improve the range of motion

Minor nerve damage

In most cases, minor nerve damage caused by wisdom teeth extraction is a normal reaction to dental surgery and will resolve itself within a few days. Fortunately, many patients experience spontaneous recovery of sensation in the affected area within a few days after surgery.

Major nerve damage 

In some cases, major nerve damage may require surgical repair to restore sensation and function to the affected area. 

A nerve graft may be necessary to repair the damaged nerve. This involves taking a healthy nerve from another part of the body and using it to bridge the gap between the two ends of the damaged nerve.

Also, physical therapy may be recommended to help restore movement and sensation in the affected area. It can help strengthen weakened muscles and improve the range of motion

Can Nerve Damage Be Permanent?

Fortunately, there’s a possibility that the nerve injury caused by wisdom teeth removal may not be permanent. A damaged nerve may heal on its own over time if you are patient.

In some cases, the damaged nerve is too severe for recovery, and the individual will never regain sensation. Generally, regained sensation in nerves starts to occur within a month of the dental procedure.

Permanent paresthesia can occur if the nerve is severely damaged. In these cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to restore sensation and function to the affected area. However, even with surgical treatment permanent nerve damage may still occur. Patients should discuss all potential risks with their dentist before undergoing any dental procedure.

All Surgery Carries Risk of Nerve Damage

The bottom line is that all oral surgery carries some risk. Nevertheless, certain surgical procedures are safer than others, and having your wisdom teeth removed is a routine process with a low degree of risk.

While nerve damage is possible, it’s unlikely to occur, especially as compared to other possible complications of wisdom tooth removal, such as dry socket (occurring in about 10% of patients). This is good news, as the dry socket is easily treated and should resolve fairly quickly.

Should You Undergo Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Ultimately, it’s your and your dentist’s decision on whether the potential risks of wisdom tooth extraction outweigh those of leaving the teeth in.

Generally, impacted wisdom teeth must be extracted since they often lead to pain, swelling, and other issues. When opting for wisdom tooth extraction for preventative care, you must consider the advantages and disadvantages of undergoing surgery now versus later.

Got questions about wisdom tooth removal? Our experts have answers. If you’re looking for a reputable dentist offering top-quality care and the best wisdom teeth removal Miami price, come to our offices and meet Dr. Gallardo, who ensures every patient gets an unparalleled quality experience. We also offer sedation dentistry, which is a perfect solution if you’re nervous about wisdom teeth removal. To learn more, schedule an appointment with us!