A person's lips may feel numb after a dental procedure if the dentist, oral surgeon, endodontist or other doctor causes damage to the inferior alveolar nerve, which is the nerve that supplies sensation to the lower lip and jaw. This type of nerve damage may occur during a variety of dental treatments, including extractions, dental implant procedures, root canal procedures, injections of anesthesia, or during the removal of wisdom teeth.
The extent and duration of the numbness will depend on the severity of the nerve damage, and it may take several months for the sensation to return to normal or improve. In some cases, however, the numbness may be permanent. It's important to discuss any concerns about nerve damage with your dentist or doctor and to seek prompt medical attention if you experience any unusual or persistent symptoms after a dental procedure.
What Should I do if numbness in my lips persists after a dental procedure?
If numbness in your lips persists after a dental procedure, it's important to get help as soon as possible. Nerve damage that persists for three months or more could be permanent. If the numbness lasts six months or more, the nerve damage is not likely to improve significantly. That's a sad and unfortunately reality for people who go to the dentist for a routine procedure and leave forever altered.
Your dentist or doctor may recommend a follow-up appointment to evaluate the situation and determine the cause of the numbness. In some cases, the numbness may resolve on its own over time, while in others, more intervention may be required. It's important to address any persistent symptoms, as these symptoms could indicate a more serious underlying issue. If the numbness in your lips is accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, tingling, burning, or swelling, you may have other conditions like trigeminal neuralgia or anesthesia dolorosa, and you should seek medical attention right away.