Nerve Damage - Permanent?

I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed after returning from a 12-day trip abroad. I had all but forgotten about my appointment during numerous tours of cathedrals, castles, and parliaments in central Europe. Needless to say, when I realized that I had to go for the extraction I was a little more than nervous.

Once I got home, I realized that the tongue depressor used to keep the unwieldy organ out of the way had bruised or cut something under the right side of my tongue, making swallowing nearly impossible. I tearfully choked down a bowl of porridge so I could take my Vicodin. After that kicked in, I felt much better, and deemed the operation a success.

Moving on to day 2.. all of the local anesthetic had worn off and I could finally eat my favorite mushy, liquid foods without all the skill of an infant. Wait, why can't I taste anything on the right.. oh, the right side of my tongue is still numb! Well, they said the impacted lower teeth were close to the nerves. They said it might happen. I called to make sure it was normal, and the doctor assured me that 2 to 3 days after the surgery I would regain normal sensation in any damaged areas.

Day 4 is drawing to a close, and I have gained some new sensations in the right side of my tongue - an uncomfortable, but not quite painful, burning tingling feeling, not unlike chugging overcarbonated soda on steroids. I'm hoping this is the beginning of nerve recovery, but that seems unlikely, given that the actual numbness has progressed to the rightmost 2/3 of my tongue. Wish me luck..

 

UPDATE.

It has now been about 4 months since the operation. My tongue is still numb to taste and touch. I'm getting used to this constant tingling. However, pain perception has been returning in a strange way, and I can tell where the nerve damage ends.

If I accidentally bite my tongue, I feel the pain - but it is centralized in a region just below where my tongue joins the floor of my mouth, somewhere within the jaw (not on the surface). This must be where the nerves begin to function normally. It is very near the operation site.

Sensation has improved in that area - before, it took quite a bit of "pain" before I felt anything - such as when I thought I found gristle in my chicken and tried to break it up with my molars, before realizing it was my tongue. Now, a light accidental nip will trigger the pain sensation in my jaw.

The surgeon said the damage may have been caused by a tiny ruptured blood vessel during surgery, bleeding into the surrounding area and putting pressure on the nerve. The accelerated "recovery" was most likely due to a mild anti-inflammatory steroid given to me to counter this swelling. However, it has long since stopped improving.

I am seeing a neurologist tomorrow afternoon. I hope I can get some real answers instead of speculation, and see if it's not too late to reverse the damage. I hope this doesn't last for the rest of my life, although it really does seem that way.

 

UPDATE #2.

The neurologist diagnosed me with paresis in one of the sensory nerves of my tongue. There is no treatment. Recovery may take up to one year, and I may not even fully recover.

I saw it coming, but it still upsets me. It seems bad luck follows me everywhere I go.

 

UPDATE #3.

It's been almost a year. I guess things have improved a lot since I last wrote. Looking back at this scared me a little, thinking of what could have happened. I have most of the sensation back in all areas, although every feeling still has that tingling undertone. I have some very feeble taste in the very back of the tongue, near the site of surgery. I can feel pain from spicy foods on the whole tongue, though, which is really a weird sensation - just the pain with no taste. I'm extremely happy that I came so far in recovery, but a little disappointed that this is about it for the rest of my life. Oh well.

FlittingShadow FlittingShadow
18-21, F
2 Responses Jul 22, 2007

sounds like Paresthesia<br />
<br />
I think I have it too on my Lower lip an chin.

Aww, I am sorry. Hope you feel better.