Hypesthesia is a condition characterized by decreased or absent sensation in a specific area of the body. In dentistry, hypesthesia can occur as a result of a variety of factors. However, in our world, people with hypesthesia usually come to us after suffering nerve damage from a dental procedure.
The trigeminal nerve, also known as the fifth cranial nerve, is the largest of the cranial nerves and is responsible for sensation in the face. The trigeminal nerve includes the inferior alveolar nerve, which is often at issue in dental malpractice nerve damage cases. In addition to the inferior alveolar nerve, the trigeminal nerve includes the lingual nerve, which is also at issue in many nerve damage dental malpractice cases. Damage to the trigeminal nerve can result in hypesthesia, or decreased sensation, in the affected area.
Hypoesthesia vs. Hypesthesia
Although hypesthesia and hypoesthesia are related terms, there is a difference between the two.
Hypesthesia usually refers to a diminished sensitivity to touch, temperature, or pain, where a person may feel sensations, but they are reduced or dulled compared to normal. This can occur as a result of nerve damage, certain medical conditions, or the use of certain medications.
Hypoesthesia usually refers to a reduced or complete loss of sensation in a particular area of the body. This can be caused by dental nerve damage, certain medical conditions, or the use of certain medications. Hypoesthesia can affect touch, temperature, or pain, and can be temporary or permanent.
In summary, hypesthesia and hypoesthesia both refer to a reduction in sensitivity to touch, temperature, or pain, but hypesthesia implies a reduction in sensation, whereas hypoesthesia implies a partial or complete loss of sensation.
Dental Procedures That Can Cause Hypesthesia
In dentistry, hypesthesia can occur as a result of nerve damage from a variety of dental procedures. Some of the most common dental procedures that cause hypesthesia include the following:
Nerve damage can occur during tooth extractions if the dentist accidentally damages the nerves while removing the tooth. This is usually seen where the dentist negligently extracts a wisdom tooth on the lower jaw or another tooth in the bottom and back of the mouth because these are in close proximity to the inferior alveolar nerve and the lingual nerve.
Root Canal Treatment
Nerve damage can occur during root canal treatment if the dentist accidentally damages the nerves while removing the infected pulp by instrumenting through the tip or the root or overfilling the canal with material. This type of nerve damage usually occurs in teeth on the lower jaw and in the back of the mouth.
Dental Implant Placement
Nerve damage can occur during the placement of dental implants if the implant is positioned too close to the nerves. Additionally, while the dentist is drilling a hole in the jaw for the implant to go into, which is called the osteotomy, the dentist may drill too deeply and damage the inferior alveolar nerve. This can occur with teeth near the inferior alveolar nerve, which are on the lower jaw and in the back of the mouth.
Injection Of Local Anesthetics
Nerve damage can occur during the injection of local anesthetics if the needle penetrates too deeply and damages the nerves. Additionally, some anesthetics are more toxic to nerves than others and can cause serious damage if injected on the nerve or too close to the nerve.
It is important to note that nerve damage is not a common occurrence during these procedures, but it can occur in some cases. If you are experiencing hypesthesia after a dental procedure, it is important to talk to your dentist or healthcare provider to determine the cause and find appropriate treatment. The key with any dental nerve damage is to get treatment as soon as possible.
Common Symptoms of Hypesthesia After Dental Treatment
Hypesthesia after a dental treatment can present a number of symptoms. Some common symptoms of hypesthesia include the following:
- Decreased Sensation: This may include a loss of feeling or a decrease in sensitivity in the lip, tongue, cheek, or face.
- Numbness: This can include a feeling of total lack of sensation or a partial loss of sensation in the affected area.
- Tingling or Burning Sensations: Some people may experience a tingling or burning sensation in the affected area, which can be accompanied by a loss of sensation.
- Pain: In some cases, hypesthesia can be accompanied by pain, especially if the underlying cause of the hypesthesia is nerve damage.
- Reduced Ability to Taste: A decrease in sensation can lead to a reduced ability to taste food, especially in the affected area.
- Difficulty Speaking or Eating: Hypesthesia can also make it difficult for people to speak or eat normally, especially if the tongue or lips are affected.
The symptoms and severity of hypesthesia can vary from person to person. If you are experiencing any symptoms of hypesthesia after a dental treatment, you may have suffered serious or permanent nerve damage. Thus, you should seek medical help immediately.
Common Causes of Hypesthesia in Dentistry
Hypesthesia can have a number of causes in dentistry. Some of the most common causes of hypesthesia include:
Nerve damage can occur as a result of a number of dental procedures, such as tooth extractions, root canal treatment, or dental implant placement.
Local Anesthetic Toxicity
An overdose of local anesthetic can cause temporary or permanent numbness in the affected area.
Infection That Puts Pressure on the Nerve
An infection in the mouth or face can cause nerve damage, which can ultimately lead to hypesthesia.
Trauma to the Nerve
Trauma to the face or mouth, such as a blow to the jaw or an injury during a dental procedure, can cause nerve damage and lead to hypesthesia.
Certain types of neuralgias, such as trigeminal neuralgia, can cause hypesthesia in the face or mouth.
Certain neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, can cause hypesthesia in the face or mouth.
It is important to note that hypesthesia can have a number of causes, and it is not always related to a dental procedure. If you are experiencing symptoms of hypesthesia, it is important to speak to your dentist or healthcare provider to determine the cause and find appropriate treatment.
Recovering from Hypesthesia
The recovery time and outcome of hypesthesia after dental nerve damage can vary depending on several factors, such as the cause of the nerve damage and the severity of the damage. In some cases, hypesthesia may resolve on its own with time, while in other cases it may be permanent.
If the cause of the hypesthesia is nerve damage from a dental procedure, it is possible for the sensation to return over time as the nerve regenerates. However, the length of time for recovery can vary greatly, and in some cases, the hypesthesia may be permanent.
If the hypesthesia is caused by an overdose of local anesthetic, it could be temporary and resolve on its own within a few hours or days. However, if the hypesthesia is caused by a more serious act, such as severing the nerve during a surgical procedure, it may require surgery and may not ever fully resolve.
It is important to keep in mind that every case of hypesthesia is unique, and the outcome can vary a lot depending on the individual. Nerve damage is still a bit of a mystery in the medical world, and it’s not as well understood as a majority of other medical conditions.
Hypesthesia after dental nerve damage is typically diagnosed through a combination of methods, which will usually involve a physical examination and diagnostic tests. The following steps are often used to diagnose hypesthesia after dental nerve damage:
Your dentist or healthcare provider will perform a physical examination of your mouth, face, and neck to assess the location and severity of your symptoms.
Your dentist or healthcare provider will ask about your medical history, including any previous dental procedures, and any other medical conditions you may have.
Your dentist or healthcare provider may perform a series of tests to assess the sensation in the affected area, including light touch, temperature, and pressure sensitivity tests.
Depending on your individual case, your dentist or healthcare provider may order one or more imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans, to rule out other causes of hypesthesia and determine the location of any nerve damage.
Once the cause of your hypesthesia has been determined, your dentist or healthcare provider will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to manage your symptoms. It is important to keep in mind that hypesthesia can have multiple causes, and it may take some time to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms.